<p>Chef Mark (Maleko) with his first cohort of foodservice trainees Chef Curtis, Leslie, and Haidee.</p>
<p>With heavy and grateful hearts, we bid Chef Mark (Maleko) a fond farewell as he transitions to focus on building his own business.
Mark joined our team in 2020 and quickly elevated our Kupuna and Family Meals and foodservice training and apprenticeship programs. His ability to teach and work well with our participants has impacted many lives and led to lasting friendships with every graduate who he worked with.
"I'm inspired every day watching our students master their cognitive and personal skills," Mark said. "Their willingness to learn and help each other is so rewarding. I've witnessed character-building and a culture of friendship, love, and respect. I believe that every individual is trying hard to face their everyday challenges, not give up on themselves, and do their best."
A memory that will always be in Mark's heart is of kupuna Sylvia's smile and excitement when he delivered her meals. "Being part of someone's day and knowing that they'll be fed brings warmth to my heart," he said.
Mark will be leaving us at the end of the month to expand his business, Minasa, to a food truck operation that will allow him to develop new items and share his creations with more people. Minasa began as a pop-up at food festivals across the island and features modern Filipino food made with fresh local ingredients. We look forward to following Mark's journey and wish him all the best.
On behalf of the entire Touch A Heart ohana, we thank Mark for his dedication and contributions to our organization and community.
We also welcome Chef Craig Terada to the TAH team. Craig owned two coffee shops and was head chef at St. Andrew's Schools for 17 years until his retirement in 2019. He and his wife Claire are members of Kalihi Union Church. Craig was introduced to our staff this week and assisted with the meals. We're grateful to have him share his gifts with our community. Next week's meals will be from his repertoire and extensive menu. We look forward to sharing more about Craig soon.</p>