Times They Are A Changing…

With the new year comes a time for reflection, a look at what we have accomplished, and where we hope to go. One of the biggest changes for  Under My Umbrella is the relocation of our headquarters from Manoa Marketplace to Kaka`ako. With many of our clients and our new sister business TASTE in Kaka`ako, we decided it was time to spread our wings and join them in this  new, hip, rapidly evolving urban hub.

Located at 675 Auahi Street (the old Chai’s) we share our space with Paiko (our favorite florist who shares our passion for  local sustainable practices). With a little help from our friends, we were able to give the space a facelift and build a wall to split the unit in two areas. One side for UMU headquarters and Paiko’s workshop and retail floral shop on the other.

Manoa is where we grew up, and we will miss the serenity and calmness the valley offered, but Kaka`ako has already proven to be where we need to be.  So next time you are out and about, grab a bite at  TASTE, check out the latest art at Two Eyes Gallery and stop by the new office to say hello. In the evening,  Night Market or Eat the Street are also a great way to get a taste of the emerging urban pulse of Kaka`ako.

As the year comes to an end, we are proud to reflect on our continued growth and thankful for all who have helped us to get here. We can’t wait to see what the future holds and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Mahalo Nui Loa Manoa. Aloha Kaka`ako.

“Sharing” Pure Aloha

On November 17 at the second Night Market, Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha took part in a shave ice experiment our UMU crew and HOPA dreamed up. During the summer we ran a campaign where people of Hawaii donated over 700 shave ice to be shared with others.

On Saturday, HOPA gave away over 115 gifted shave ice for their first Sharing Day. The news of “gifted shave ice” traveled fast through the crowds of the Night Market and before long there was a line half way across the street.

When the patrons were told that their shave ice would be gifted from a donor, they were blown away. They loved the idea and the concept of what HOPA was doing, sharing it forward and spreading the pure aloha of The House!

The mission of HOPA is to inspire a worldwide movement of Pure Aloha – one shave ice at a time, which is exactly what took place at the Night Market. HOPA brought the spirit of aloha and ‘ohana to the attendees and showed them something most had never seen before.

In the spirit of sharing it forward, many of the recipients donated into the shave ice fund, with a total of $220.06 being given.

This Sharing Day was the first of many and the Night Market was a perfect location for the launch of the campaign. With the mix of food, fun, and fashion, it brought with it a large variety of individuals. All who seem to love gifted shave ice!

 

Celebrating Environmental Leaders

On November 17th the UMU team will gather in the beautiful Waimea Valley for the 10th Anniversary of the Surfrider Foundation’s John Kelly Awards. We are happy to be the event producers for this annual affair. Every year this event reminds us why we love our non-profit clients so much. We continue to sell out the event with over 300 individuals from all walks of life who gather to be inspired by and give recognition to environmental leaders of the past and present. The crowd of like-minded individuals fuels the soul and from the awards ceremony and the natural beauty of the valley to the silent auction filled with surf gear, artwork and culinary experiences, the evening always ends on a good note (often provided by a impromptu live jam session with Jack Johnson).

We hope you will join us as we celebrate the people and businesses of Hawaii who are working to protect our islands natural beauty. The event will take place at Waimea Valley Pavillion & Great Lawn at 6pm.  Tickets are $60 and available online.  All proceeds from this evening will benefit Surfrider Foundation’s Oahu Chapter and its efforts to preserve our coasts. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit surfrider.org/oahu.
This year’s awardees include Muumuu Heaven, pro surfer Torrey Meister and Capt. Charles Moore.

Muumuu Heaven is being awarded in the Hawaii-based company category for its leadership in the community and its advocacy work for Hawaii on an international level. The shop’s designs are created with the purpose of minimizing the impact on the environment while maximizing their fashion-forward thinking.

Torrey Meister, also known as the “Happy Hawaiian,” is an explosive surfer whose positive attitude shines through in his surfing as well as his demeanor on land. He is one of the Islands’ top surfers. As an active advocate for the Surfrider Foundation, Torrey promotes environmental awareness and appeared in a PSA supporting Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign.

Last but certainly not least, the event will honor Capt. Charles Moore, an environmental researcher and dynamic speaker who is best known for bringing the North Pacific Garbage Patch to the world’s attention. Moore founded the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in 1994 and then launched a research vessel and began voyages across the Pacific to document the rise of marine plastic pollution.

See you there!

A TASTEful Grand Opening!

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Last Saturday we presented to the world (or at least Hawaii)  the official grand opening of TASTE in Kaka’kao.  This “food venue” is a collaboration between our Under My Umbrella crew, Chef Mark Noguchi of Pili Hawaii and Poni and Brandon Askew of  Street Grindz. With all of our closes friends and family  in attendance, it was a full house of good energy and good food.

For this special celebration a few of our favorite chefs and bartenders came out  to help us celebrate. Chef JJ Leng with Sweetbreads featured a kulolo inspired dessert, Chef Sean Priester with Soul Patrol offered mini versions of his famous waffle and fried chicken,  Alex Le and his family from Pig and The  Lady, served up a beef pho and our own Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi with Pil Hawaiii did a soft egg with MAO greens and a gravy slider.  The talented Dave Newman from Pint + Jigger played bartender for the evening and as usual his signature drinks were the hot talk of the evening.

So what is TASTE you might be asking.  A food venue?  What is that?  It’s not a restaurant, it’s not quite a pop-up, it’s more of a venue for everything food.  TASTE’s daily breakfast and lunch menu will feature many of the familiar faces eaters are used to seeing from a lunch truck window or at Eat the Street.  During the day expect to find a delicious mix of popular food truck owners, street food vendors and pop up restaurants serving up their own twist on fast, affordable, fresh food.

TASTE will feature a combination of in-house special series meals created by resident Chef Gooch intermixed with pop-up meals created by guest Chefs. For dinner, think a restaurant turned dinner party.  Dinner will be served five days a week (Monday- Sat.) with a fixed menu that will change each day. The space is not operating at 100% this week, but our plan is to have our regular schedule up and running by November 15th.

For now, we are working out the last kinks of the schedule and continuing to be inspired by the  future possibilities  and opportunities TASTE has to offer. On this week’s books we are excited to host  visiting celebrity Chef Lee Anne Wong who with be partnering with resident Chef “Gooch” on Tuesday. Oct. 30th for our first official pop-up dinner.  The pair will be serving up 4 pork dishes (a la carte) as part of their “Drunch Series”.  Doors open at 6pm and no reservations are required. For more information and menu updates visit www.tastetable.com.

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A Fairytale Wedding at Sunset Ranch

UMU was called in last minute for damage control on an elegant wedding taking place at the beautiful Sunset Ranch on the North Shore of Hawai`i.  Should this be a new service we offer?  Damage Control? UMU Ambulance Services–we’ll clean up their mess with our “binder full of women” with magic wands?  Maybe, but it will be expensive!

Luckily,  we love deadlines and a good challenge, so we hit the ground running. After the call from the bride our team spent the next 10 days tying up loose ends, coordinating vendors and adding a few special touches that would make this wedding everything the bride had dreamed of.  From the breathtaking scenery of Sunset Ranch, the locally delicious meal from Town restaurant, the amazing photography from the talented Anna Kimto the many loving friends who stepped up to assist with the florals, vegan cakes and vintage photo booth–this was truly a night to remember for everyone.

A “TASTE” at Kaka’ako Night Market

A special guest dropped in to serve our first plate to our first customer

On September 29th, TASTE was pleased to present its soft opening sneak peek to the public at the Night Market in Kaka’ako. The old Akane Cafe, is set to open in late October under the direct supervision of Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi. Chef “Gooch” served up Braised Belly, Red Curry,  and Wong Farms Lu’au Stew to nearly 200 lucky foodies who heard through the grapevine that we were doing a sneak peek.

The new space, Taste Table, is a collaboration between Street Grindz, run by Poni and Brandon Askew, Under My Umbrella owned and operated by Amanda Corby and Pili Hawaii, a food group recently co-founded by Chef “Gooch” and Corby.

Mr. & Mrs. Le of Pig & The Lady will be one of the regular pop-up vendors.

For breakfast and lunch TASTE will feature an “A La Carte” menu created by familiar faces you may be used to seeing from a truck window.  During the day, TASTE will feature a revolving door of lunch truck owners taking a turn at brick and mortar–serving up fast, affordable, fresh and always changing food.
For dinner, think a restaurant turned dinner party.  Most always, there will be a set menu, pre-purchased reservations and an intimate group of diners sampling the featured chef’s latest experiment.
TASTE hopes to serve as a culinary experiment hub for the back-of-the-house and a unique dining experience for eaters.  On the surface, TASTE is a permanent pop-up space featuring many chefs in one location, but in addition to rotating Chefs, TASTE will also offer cooking classes, Chef demos, tastings and culinary and business skills training.  For more information and updates on the grand opening of TASTE visit them at www.tastetable.com.

2012 Agriculture Conference

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UMU Crew providing service with a smile at the conference registration table.

On September 20-21 the Agriculture Leadership Foundation of Hawaii held their biannual Agriculture Conference at the Hawaii Convention Center.

With more than 300 people in attendance it allowed for a great collaboration of ideas.

A trade show kicked off the conference with a variety of vendors, some of which included Farm Credit Services of Hawaii, The Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and Hawaiian Earth Products.

The innovative sessions of this two day conference complimented some of the core ideas held by the Agriculture Foundation. Continuing to be sustainable as our own state will allow both the agriculture side and the community side of Hawaii to thrive.

A key note presentation “Collaborative Consumption and the Changing Face of Industry” by Lauren Anderson gave the idea that in order to continue to be a successful state there needs to be a sense of collaboration among the different sides of agriculture.

One of the sponsors, Kamehameha Schools, held an All Hawaii Products Awards Luncheon featuring Dr. Donna Ching and her 25 years within the Agricultural Leadership Program.

The conference closed out with the Pau Hana Reception where everyone had a chance to mingle and talk through the ideas that had been presented to them.

The highlight of the conference for many was the Pau Hana Reception that included Chef demos by some of Hawai`i's favorite Chefs.

The Foundation started in 1982 and since then has supported the leaders in agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. This conference serves as an opportunity for these leaders to network with each other and gain new ideas.

From the conference the Agriculture Leadership Foundation wants that the attendees to take what they learned from the speakers and trade show vendors and help their companies to become even more sustainable, in hopes of creating an even better agriculture state.

Greening Our Future

On August 25th, UMU was proud to present the transformation of a vacant warehouse into an elegant gala after months of  collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, Hawaii Chapter, RIM Architects and a solid group of volunteers for the 2nd annual Green Gala at Warehouse MR1.1 in Kakaako. This fundraiser and awards dinner celebrated the efforts of local designers, builders and community leaders for  their stewardship towards a greener future.
Falling in line with the USGBC’s sustainable mission, our team worked endlessly to transform this rundown warehouse into a night of sustainable elegance. Thanks to the assistance of great volunteers and like-minded organizations, we were able to elevate the possibilities of what a vacant warehouse has to offer. The unique venue provided the UMU and our dedicated planning committee with a chance to embrace the intent of LEED credit MR 1.1 by reusing and transforming an empty warehouse into a classy Gala.

Throughout the evening guests enjoyed a locally inspired dinner courtsey of The Whole Ox Deli and Prima, signature drinks by local celebrity mixologists  Joey Gottesman and Dave Newman of Pint & Jigger as well as beer and wine garden. The evening  highlighted a eco-themed silent auction and live entertainment by Hot Club Of Hulaville.  Our zero waste stations, courtesy of Tree3s, helped to lessen our environmental impact.  We are proud to report only one bag of trash was created from this 300+ person event.  Everything else was either reused, recycled, composted or fed to our four-legged friends on a farm.

Award winners of the evening included Henk Rogers and The Blue Planet Foundation for the Outstanding Pioneer Award; Hunt Companies for the Legacy Award and special honors of  Punahou Schools and Forest City as Hawai’i’s Green “LEEDers” in Hawai`i.

Proceeds of over $25,000 from this event will benefit the USGBC’s mission which is to create an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous quality of life for all in Hawaii through the transformation of the built environment and the way it is planned, designed, constructed and operated.  We truly loved the level of creativity and collaboration this event fostered and we are already planning on how to make it even more “out-of-the-box” for next year. Another non-traditional “gala” we are so proud to be a part of.  For more telling photos visit Honolulu Magazine’s event slideshow courtsey of Ross D. Hamamura.

Collaboration on the Ranch

The UMU crew spent the weekend on the North Shore with our new sister company Pili Hawai`i. We might have been hard at work, but with scenery like this and such an appreciative client, we were a pretty happy bunch.

If you haven’t heard yet, Dillingham Ranch is for sale and UMU & Pili were hired to throw a little gathering for potential buyers. The already beautiful Ranch got a little facelift and invited an intimate group of  about 80 people for an afternoon on the ranch. Our clients were looking for a way of fusing elegance with the local feel the North Shore is known for.  We had a quick UMU pow wow, gathered our thoughts on Pinterest and decided on a “contemporary luau” theme which we mindfully conveyed in every aspect of the event.

Chef Mark Noguchi brought his expertise to the table with a locally inspired menu including a poke bar and Daniel Anthony pounding Pa`i`ai.  We also invited our friend Shaun from Aloha on the Rocks to set-up a shave ice station and kept homemade rosemary citrus spritzers flowing.

Oh and just for fun, there was a helicopter tour so guests could explore the estate from above. I’m not sure if Amanda is planning on buying the ranch, but somehow she landed herself a ride. Until then, we’re building sandcastles in our dreams.

 

Tip of the Week – You do great work. Now, don’t forget to launch your website

This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, BUT now that we are finally up and running we are happy to let you learn from our  procrastination. For us, word of mouth has truly been the key to our growing list of amazing clients.  We started as a little company working with local businesses and non-profits we had standing relationships with. They were so impressed with our services they told their friends.  Now, as our little business grows-up, we are still working within our community and thankful that we  continue to expand our UMU family  through word of mouth, however, our network is expanding. As we more frequently play with the “big boys” at the national and international level (who might not know our nimble crew by name), we finally stopped stalling and got our site up.

For those of you who might be falling into the same “my website can wait” pattern, here is a little motivation and some great tips from Mashable.com titled “Website Must Haves”. Enjoy the article, enjoy our website and visit often for more tips, events and other fun stuff that will make your life better.

A huge MAHALO! to our amazing graphic designer Jess Johnston and all the others who stuck with us through this two year process!