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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

Great Baking At Fendu In Manoa

‘Tis the season for eating and drinking, so put away the leftover Halloween candy and start planning your holiday dining. If you’re going to gain weight in the next six weeks, you might as well make sure every bite is worth it.

With a number of new restaurants in town, the holidays are a perfect time of year to gather groups of friends and head for some extraordinary dining experiences.

One thing to check off your holiday list without delay might be a visit to Fendu Boulangerie to order some of chef/owner Neil Koep’s beautiful holiday fare.

There is no more talented baker in Honolulu than Neil, and during the holiday season his love of traditional desserts and European bread is apparent.

Trained classically, and already a well-loved part of Manoa Marketplace, Koep applies his expert knowledge to buche de noel, stollen and a variety of seasonal breads.

His love of baking is present in every bite, and he has a beautiful approach to his art.

Of baking he says, “You don’t need formal training in food to be a baker, you don’t have to be an expert to understand it. Other foods may be complicated or hard to understand, but bread is flour, water, yeast and salt. It’s a simple thing, but if it’s made right it can touch the heart.”

Fendu’s breads really are just flour, water, yeast and salt, unlike the chemically enhanced, preservative- filled commercial breads to which many of us have become accustomed.

“There are no additives or chemicals in our breads,” he says, “and there’s no hydrogenated shortening either. We just use olive oil, vegetable oil or butter, along with flour and salt. A lot of customers looking for natural foods and better ingredients are happy when they find that our food is baked fresh every day and in a natural way.”

And at Fendu (the name comes from a traditional, half moon shaped French loaf) fresh really means fresh. Anything left over on the shelves at day’s end is never re-sold. Koep and his small team begin a new batch of breads, pastries, desserts and cookies every day. Make this season the one you discover this utter gem of a bakery. * And if the thought of cooking the annual Thanksgiving dinner is already causing you stress, why not change your family tradition and go out for Thanksgiving breakfast instead? This year Kai Market at Sheraton Waikiki is offering a family-style breakfast Nov. 28 that features multi-ethnic cuisines. What Kai does so well is offer an incredible bounty of food at an affordable price, and it’s probably the most impressive buffet in Hawaii in terms of its commitment to filling the chafing pans with locally sourced food.

Thanksgiving breakfast is offered from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ($28.95 for adults, $14.95 for children ages 6 to 12.

The restaurant is also offering traditional Thanksgiving dinner fare from 4.30 p.m., where turkey and island style trimmings are all part of the impressive buffet.

Happy eating!

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