University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa alumnus Chung Chow is co-owner/chef at noreetuh, a modern Hawaiian restaurant located in the East Village of New York City. Chung is classically trained in French technique and has spent a majority of his career with the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in both casual and fine dining operations first at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, California and later at Per Se restaurant in New York. After spending three years as a Sous Chef, Chung left to help Jonathan Benno open Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Honolulu, Chung takes a personal interest in the cuisines and cultures of East Asia and the Pacific Rim. He has spent a number of years living in Japan and traveling throughout Korea, immersed in their cultures, languages and food. He graduated with an Associate’s Degree from the Le Cordon Bleu program at the California School of Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese Language from UH Mānoa.
We asked Chung more about his UH experience, what he finds most rewarding and challenging about his work and what his favorite noreetuh menu item is.
Why did you choose to attend UH?
Being the youngest in my family, most of my siblings went to UH, and it was only natural that I would follow in their footsteps. In addition, going to UH allowed to be close to home and family.
What do you value most about your time at UH?
The diversity and the multi-ethnic makeup of the students and staff, setting a stage for a global learning environment. Also, the language program (especially of Asia) allowed me the opportunity to study abroad and to immerse myself in a country where I can learn the culture and language of the area more effectively.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your work? The most challenging?
Being able to share my culinary and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i, especially in New York where it is little known and sometimes misunderstood. What’s challenging is facing stereotypes of what Hawai‘i is, and being able to gain a wider acceptance of Hawaiian cuisine on a larger stage.
What advice would you give to an incoming UH student?
Embrace the diversity and differences that make UH unique, and to keep an open mind to what comes your way.
What’s your favorite item on the noreetuh menu and why?
The musubi options because it allows us to feature an everyday food item from Hawai‘i in its most simplest form (spam musubi), yet we are able to elevate the same concept into a more luxurious option by highlighting different ingredients from around the world.
For more on noreetuh, visit https://www.noreetuh.com/