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Just three weeks after celebrity chef Tanya Holland left Town Fare at the Oakland Museum of California, the museum’s leaders have appointed a new chef to lead the culinary program.
Hawaiian Tongan chef Puaokalani Barquis is now in charge of the plant-focused cafe and bringing their brand of Indigenous Polynesian foods to the menu.
“At the heart of Puaokalani Barquis’ cooking is a piece of boundless wisdom, ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food,’” Town Fare shared via Instagram. “As a MoC (masculine of center) Māhū Kanaka Maoli — native Hawaiian who embodies both female and male spirits — the rediscovery of Pua’s cultural roots is central to their exploration of culinary and gender identity.”

Barquis, who Eater SF reports was born in Oakland and raised in the East Bay, worked under Holland at Town Fare. Some new dishes they are bringing to the eatery: an Impossible meatloaf sandwich dedicated to their single mother, Anna “Moana” Barquis; an arugula salad made with turmeric and papaya, which has grown on the islands since the 1820s; and, eventually, things like luau stew, a traditional Hawaiian dish made with luau leaves and squid, Barquis told Eater SF.
Other new dishes that are already selling out: spicy wings made with gochujang and a Hawaiian plate with greens and mac. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1000 Oak St., Oakland; https://museumca.org

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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