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Born and raised in Honolulu, Michelle graduated from Punahou School. While obtaining a degree in Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii, Michelle’s passion for cooking was ignited after an externship at Alan Wong’s. Pursuing her dream, Michelle furthered her training at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, during which she completed a stage at Daniel, and an externship at The French Laundry. She rejoined Alan Wong’s where she spent 6 years on the savory side. Moving again, back to New York, she staged at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, and it is here that she realized she wanted to be a pastry chef. In 2012 Michelle received the Rising Star Chef Award from StarChefs.com as a Pastry Chef.
In October 2013, Michelle Karr-Ueoka and husband Chef Wade Ueoka opened their first joint venture, MW Restaurant in Honolulu where they specialize in Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Both have traveled around the world, and draw inspiration from their journeys, but none bigger than the melting pot of Hawaii, and its exotic local bounty. In February 2014, MW Restaurant was nominated by the James Beard Foundation in the category of Best New Restaurant, and Michelle Karr-Ueoka in the category of Outstanding Pastry Chef.