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Old Friends: Elizabeth Watanabe

Elizabeth Watanabe

Elizabeth Watanabe | Photo by Rachel Breit

As the saying goes, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” But Elizabeth Watanabe is making sure that everyone can do so.

“The statement is ‘fashionably unique sweet treat experience,'” Watanabe says of Haute Confectionery Boutique. “Haute was just an idea that came to birth. It wasn’t something that I was really going to pursue.”

Nonetheless, Haute Confectionery Boutique is blooming. This week marks the company’s first delivery with Hawaiian Airlines, which is pleased to get Watanabe’s baked goods on board. Sweet treats are available for in-flight purchase, and passengers can choose from all sorts of cookies, including chocolate chip macadamia nut and chewy coconut shortbread. Not only are the treats delicious and attractive, they also are sold in little boxes (pictured) that feature island flair.

Watanabe, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover July 30, 2008, stayed home when her grandma (Shigeko Hata) was ill with cancer.

“I started baking everything I could possibly bake,” she says. “I had so many baked goods, I started taking them to people, and they fell in love with them. They said I should consider doing this.”

Watanabe also has experience in the food industry, having opened Harbor Court Bistro back in 2008.

Aside from Haute Confectionery Boutique’s relationship with Hawaiian Airlines, the company also is hoping to create exclusive mints for a local spa’s five locations, and exclusive exotic brownies and cakes for a department store in the near future.

“One convenience store is looking to carry some gift ideas for our customers abroad,” Watanabe adds. “There is a local restaurant that we’re working with to create exclusive treats for them, as well.”

It’s evident that Haute Confectionery Boutique isn’t your run-of-the-mill bake shop.

“You don’t come in and pick up a few cake pops …,” Watanabe says. “I cater to businesses.”

As if starting her own business wasn’t keeping her busy enough, she says motherhood is the toughest job in the world.

“I’ve had two children (since being featured in 2008), Ethan, 4, and Vivianne, 3,” she says. Her oldest son, Kevin, is now 9.

“I love being a mom … It’s the most rewarding, but it’s easier to pursue a career than to be a mom,” she continues. “I’m fortunate that my husband, Kevin, has retired from the Honolulu Police Department last year, and he’s taking the role of Mr. Mom.”

For now, Haute Confectionery Boutique is working to update its website, hauteconfectioneryboutique.com.

“I think that we are going to move forward, and you’ll really start hearing about us in the upcoming months,” Watanabe says.