Where were you born and raised? Here in Honolulu.
What started your interest in food as a business? I think growing up in Hawaii, you often don’t realize how fabulous it is until you leave. I left, went to New York to work, but it made me miss so much about home. Being away from Hawaii helped me form a picture of what I wanted to do in life and it all came back to being home.
With great food. Yes! I’ve always loved food and cooking, and being away I noticed that I was making food that reminded me of Hawaii. So when I came home I wanted to combine everything traveling and missing home and blend all aspects of my life so far into one career.
And gelato is perfect because you can create new flavors and bring back memories in one small scoop. Yes, totally! That’s why the flavors are so unique. They are an expression of me and of Hawaii. For example with pikake, which grows outside my parents’ house, a lot of people don’t know that pikake is jasmine. So one of the flavors is a jasmine/pikake horchata: It’s a rice mulled cinnamon-infused drink where the jasmine gives the floral note on top. And we have a matcha haupia that I think local people will love. Oh, and all the cones are handmade, too.
Your Gelato truck, VIA, will be on the road soon, we hope! Yes, April for sure. Via means “the street,” so street gelato will be here in a few weeks.
Do you cook at home? Love to, but right now I’m kind of living on gelato and getting the right formula for each one (laughs).
What’s always in your fridge? Big Island milk, Parmigiano Reggiano and homemade lilikoi puree.
Favorite restaurants? Sunoya’s for ramen I absolutely love how it is open until 3 a.m. And Inaba for soba, Ireh for soups and mandoo, town, Heeia Pier, and Pig and the Lady when they pop up.
With whom would you most like to have dinner? Marcella Hazan or any other Italian nonna. I like the Italian stereotype of expressing love through feeding people with lots of good food. And it would have been pretty amazing to hang out with Frida Kahlo.
I’m sending people who can’t wait for VIA to open to your blog, viagelatohawaii.wordpress.com. If we can’t taste your flavors yet, we can at least look at them.