Hawaii Mom Blog: Na`au Restaurant Announces 2020 Pop-Ups

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October 8, 2019

Na`au Restaurant Announces 2020 Pop-Ups

Hawai`i-born Chef Brian Hirata will unveil his transcendent culinary concept, Na`au, via two exclusive pop-ups starting at 6:00pm on Sunday, October 13, 2019, at Anna Ranch Heritage Center, and at 5:30pm on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at Palms Cliff House Inn.  Both dinners are at capacity, and closed for reservations, but 2020 pop-ups were just announced.  Please visit naauhilo.com for information.
The nine-course degustation featuring wild, coveted, and hyperlocal ingredients will include complimentary pairings of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages for $265 per person, inclusive of gratuity (taxes and Eventbrite booking fees additional).  Each dinner accommodates only 12 guests.
Meaning “where your soul resides” or “the place where you know things and hold the entirety of life’s experiences,” Na`au is the culmination of Brian Hirata’s life and culinary career.  Hirata, who has hunted, fished, farmed, and foraged in the islands from when he was a child, gained an appreciation and profound respect for the outdoors and cultural values of Hawai`i.  After obtaining his culinary degree at Hawai`i Community College, he worked at various restaurants throughout the State before becoming an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Culinary Arts program at Hawai`i Community College, where he recently earned tenure.  He decided that it was time to help local culinarians—chefs and diners alike—reconnect with their roots, become better acquainted with the bounty of ingredients available in the islands, and perpetuate the unique culinary heritage of Hawai`i. 
Combining his classical training in European cooking techniques, his exposure to a broad range of regional cuisines, and extensive knowledge of local ingredients, Hirata set off to preserve Hawai`i's food culture while progressing the local cuisine through thoughtful, accessible presentations incorporating what he considers “lost ingredients”—plants and proteins that were overlooked or forgotten at some point in Hawai`i’s culinary evolution.  Therefore, for his inaugural pop-up at Na`au, Hirata’s menu will be replete with treasured finds including Hāpu`u (Hawaiian tree fern), `Ohe (Hawaiian bamboo), `Ō`io (bonefish), Kī Nehe (Spanish needle), Kūpe`e (sea snail), and Ha`uke`uke (shingle or helmet urchins), all sourced on Hawai`i island.
Na`au is Chef / Owner Brian Hirata’s papai`ai (or cooking house), where the familiar and unfamiliar converge to discover new ingredients in a space that feels like home - someplace warm, friendly, and comforting so that guests would be more open to new encounters.  The aspiration is for guests to leave with a truly authentic cultural experience, an enhanced cognizance of what makes Hawai`i so special, as well as a feeling of gratification after having a memorable meal.
“I believe that when you lose a part of your heritage, you tend to struggle with moving forward thoughtfully because you don’t have a good understanding of where you came from in the first place.  I think we lost this food connection, in a sense, and I want to see if we can find a way back to it…” says Hirata.
By sharing his love for the land, the awe for the ocean, his fond childhood memories, and reverence for our islands’ unique heritage and culture, Chef Brian hopes to stimulate dialogue to increase Hawai`i’s presence in the global culinary milieu.


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