Conrad Nonaka

It was with sadness that Kapiʻolani Community College announced the passing of Conrad Nonaka, who served as the University of Hawaiʻi’s director of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) since January 2001. Nonaka passed away on June 2.

Nonaka’s passion for culinary education was legendary. He readily connected with master chefs and executives in the industry, and always remembered his service and commitment to students. His generosity and humility comprised his brand, which forged and established lasting relationships for CIP.

Kapiʻolani CC Chancellor Louise Pagotto said, “We will miss Conrad dearly. He was a kind, generous colleague. He went out of his way to make sure we were well taken care of at any of our public events. You could always count on Conrad to be gracious and to make guests to the college feel comfortable. His smile and laughter filled the room.”

In 2016, Nonaka received a UH Distinguished Alumni Award. According to his bio, “After earning his BEd from UH Mānoa and receiving an honorable military discharge from the U.S. Army, Nonaka trained many in the hospitality industry. A proud graduate of the culinary program at Kapiʻolani Community College, Nonaka returned to share his knowledge and expertise with the culinary students as chef instructor. He developed the successful Kapiʻolani CC Saturday Farmers’ Market—an educational partnership agreement between the Culinary Institute of the Pacific and the Hawaiʻi State Farm Bureau Federation. The market has grown into a destination event for an average of more than 9,000 people each Saturday.”

Nonaka is survived by wife Susan and two grown sons.


Services are scheduled for July 13, 4:30 p.m. at Nuʻuanu Memorial Park and Mortuary. The family requests no flowers.

In lieu of monetary donations, contributions can be made to the UH Foundation: Culinary Institute of the Pacific.

Building a world class culinary institute was a passion for Conrad Nonaka and his colleagues. Shown here are chef Roy Yamaguchi, chef Kelvin Ro, CIP Director Conrad Nonaka, Vice President for UH Community Colleges John Morton, Governor David Ige, UH President David Lassner, Kapiʻolani CC Chancellor Louise Pagotto and chef Alan Wong.