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Three-Part Mini Documentary Series Look to the Source Tells the Story of Pa‘akai in Past and Present

Inspired by the historic salt flats and fish ponds of Ka‘ākaukukui in the community of Kaka‘ako, Honolulu, Our Kaka‘ako and Kamehameha Schools produced a three-part mini documentary series, being released as part of Hawaiian History Month in September, titled Look to the Source: Nānā I Ke Kumu that connects the significance of pa‘akai, or salt, in Hawai‘i with how chefs use salt today to bring out the best in food, our community, and life.

Hosted by internationally acclaimed Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi, the series takes viewers from the salt flats, fish auction, and watercress farm to popular restaurants at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako in a journey to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the origins of local food.

“Pa‘akai (salt) plays a role of great importance in Hawaiian culture and history,” said Serge Krivatsy, Kamehameha Schools commercial real estate senior director of planning and development. “As a seasoning, preservative, purifier, and commodity, pa‘akai had many uses in daily life for Hawaiians and was also Hawai‘i’s first export. While pa‘akai is no longer farmed in Kaka‘ako, salt and other locally sourced ingredients remain vital in this thriving neighborhood.”

The “Look to the Source: Nānā I Ke Kumu” series will premiere on Additionally, in a behind-the-scenes interview, Chef Gooch explains the meaning of “nānā i ke kumu” (look to the source) and the intention behind the series.

Episode 1 “Look to the Source: Pa‘akai” - Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
6 min 30 sec
Chef Gooch, cultural practitioner and designer Kūha‘o Zane, and Chef Mark Oyama of Mark’s Place visit the salt beds in Hanapēpē where traditional Hawaiian salt production has taken place for generations.

Episode 2 “Fresh from the Ocean” - Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
8 min
Chef Gooch visits Chef de Cuisine Reid Matsumura at Redfish Poke Bar by Foodland to see how poke is made. Then Chef Reid gives a glimpse of the Honolulu Fish Auction where restaurants like Redfish source premier local seafood.

Episode 3 “Nourishment from Kalauao Springs”- Thursday, October 20, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
8 min
Chef Gooch visits Emi Suzuki of Sumida Farms to learn the story behind this family-owned local watercress producer. Then Chef Neil Murphy shows Chef Gooch how to make Moku Kitchen’s popular Pork Pot Stickers featuring fresh Sumida watercress.

To celebrate the release of the series, Redfish Poke Bar by Foodland is offering Sumida Watercress Ohitashi Poke as a special limited-time menu item.

To learn more and view the episodes, visit This video series is sponsored in part by Y. Hata & Co. and the Kaiāulu ‘o Kaka‘ako Owners Association.