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Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, Michelle graduated from Punahou School and went on obtain a degree in Travel Industry Management the University of Hawai‘i. While in the program, Michelle’s passion for cooking was ignited after an externship at Alan Wong’s Honolulu. 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 six years on the savory side. Moving again, back to New York, she staged at Thomas Keller’s Per Se where she switched her culinary track from savory to pastry to become a successful pastry chef in Hawai‘i. In 2012, as a pastry chef, Michelle received the Rising Star Chef Award from StarChefs.com.
After working for highly lauded restaurants from New York to Honolulu, Michelle and her husband chef Wade Ueoka opened their first joint venture, MW Restaurant in October 2013. In February 2014, the James Beard Foundation nominated MW Restaurant for “Best New Restaurant”; additionally Michelle was also nominated for a James Beard award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef”.