ʻUlu Ambassador: Joei Tyra - Private Chef

Joei Tyra was born and raised on the east side of Maui where she was given the name Hāmākua and was taught by 'ohana, kumus, and peers to malama na 'āina, na Keiki, and na Kūpuna. This included the instilled belief that the balance of nature and working together were paramount to the success of our Keiki and future generations.

After working in education and farming, Joie started her family farm in Honoka'a and has since worked for farms and restaurants in both Hawai'I and on the continent, such as being the pastry chef for Maika'i Ola Bakery on Maui, which supplied high end tropical pastries to markets and locally owned restaurants. Her community project Hawaii Kūpuna Kokua is a hui of volunteers who feed vulnerable kūpuna on Hawai'i island, that do not have access to healthy meals, to aid them in obtaining long term food security.

Joei is dedicated to true statewide sustainability and the perpetuation of traditional mea kanu and believes that ʻulu is a key player in that goal. She strives to showcase the island's amazing local ingredients through pop-ups and private dining experiences. By exclusively supporting small farmers and purveyors, she is able to offer locally sourced culinary experiences that benefit the kama'āina, while telling a story about the history of the mea'ai of these islands.

“For our islands to attain true statewide sustainability, ʻulu has got to play a central role as a dominant starch,” Joei said. “The community must come together to aid each other in the production and harvesting, which is why the Hawaii ʻUlu Cooperative is so important.”

Joie learned Mary Kawena Pukui’s proverb: "He ali'i ka 'āina; he kauwā ke kanaka (The land is a chief; man is its servant)" by her Kumu o ka la'au lapa'au. She believes it remains as important now as the day it was written.

Joeiʻs Recipe: ʻUlu-banana Mochi

See Featured Recipe

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