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Cover Story

Fendu Boulangerie Keeps on Rolling

By Alana Folen Photos By Leah Friel
July 22, 2012

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Deep in the heart of lush Manoa valley, which is known for its cascading waterfalls, beautiful rainbows and early morning mist, is Fendu boulangerie. as the sun rises above the peaks of the valley, so does the aroma of fresh breads, homemade pastries and more, which permeate through the quaint establishment located in Manoa Marketplace. Since opening the doors to Fendu boulangerie in March 2009, owner and chef niel Koep never ceases to amaze his patrons with the highest-quality creations.

Dining Out recently caught up with Koep to get a sneak peek behind the many changes that are coming. We soon learned that part of that much-awaited lineup includes a new sous chef, extended hours of operation and the addition of tantalizing treats to the ever-expanding menu.

DO: With three successful years of business to its name, Fendu Boulangerie is stepping up its game with the recent addition of a new sous chef to the team. Chef Niel, tell us what you hope chef Leanel Vidad will bring to Fendu Boulangerie.

Koep: Chef Leanel’s skills are phenomenal — he can make anything that I can make and more. I worked with him for 15 years on Lanai, and we have big things in store for him. He will help us improve our menus, and help us keep our current menu items always in stock. For example, our Lemon Meringue Pies are usually gone in a day, and it’s hard for us to keep up with that, so that’s where chef Leanel comes in — he will enhance all areas of production here. Our first goal is to make sure we have all of our favorites available every day for everyone to enjoy. It’s a team effort here at Fendu.

DO: Wonderful! Chef Leanel, what are your thoughts embarking on this new endeavor?

Vidad: I’m very excited to be working with Niel at Fendu Boulangerie. I was born and raised in the Philippines and worked for Four Seasons on Lanai for 15 years as a pastry chef. Recently, my whole family moved to Oahu. Now that I’m working at Fendu Boulangerie, I can’t wait to bring some new items to the eatery. My specialties are breads and French pastries.

DO: Chef Niel, you’ve been in the culinary field for a while now and received your training from The New York Restaurant School in Manhattan and received a grand diploma from the International Pastry Arts Center in Elmsford, New York. How does it feel to have your own establishment?

Koep: It’s great, but it also comes with a lot of hard work. Since our first year in business in March 2009, we’ve been able to double our sales. Currently, it’s very important that we continue to provide the best quality product and always come up with new items so that our customers don’t get bored.

DO: Fendu Boulangerie has expanded its repertoire over the years, offering up a plethora of tasty creations. What are some mainstay items on the menu that loyal patrons can’t live without? Also, what are some new items on the menu that are gaining popularity?

Koep: Our signature items include Petit Fuji Apple Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Pear Tarte, Teramisu and Macaroons, to name a few. Also, our Vegetarian Pizza ($16.25) and Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich are extremely popular. Vegetarian Pizza has always been on the menu. This pizza does have cheese on it, but it also features a nice tomato sauce, Japanese eggplant from a local farm, zucchini, sauteed sweet onions, a mixture of bell peppers and fresh tomatoes. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit healthier, then this is a good choice. Our Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich is priced at $7.25, and we take whole chickens and we roast them, add mayonnaise and a little sour cream. Then we add curry spice that is an all-natural blend of spices. We put fresh cilantro in there, along with some carrots and raisins. It’s served on our sweet onion “naan” bread. We sell more of that than any other type of sandwich.

Ground Wagyu Beef Sandwich ($9.50) has been on the menu for eight months and is one of our newest sandwich options. It’s been doing very well and we get a lot of compliments on it. This is a sandwich that you really don’t want to have cooked well-done. Instead, you want to order it medium or medium rare because the meat has a lot of fat and flavor, and you want to keep those flavors saturated in the meat. It’s served on our rustic bun with mayonnaise, fresh field greens, fresh farm tomatoes, sauteed sweet onions and classic pickles.

DO: Fendu Boulangerie has an array of delectable creations on its menu that are bound to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. What has been flying off the menu?

Koep: Our Chocolate Croissant ($2.25 each) has always been a signature item here, and we sell about 200 per day in the shop and another 75 to 100 wholesale. We use French chocolate (cocoberry) and in the croissant dough we use a European-style butter, which gives it a very nice flavor. Pear Almond Tarte ($2.80 each) is a great dessert if you don’t want to fill yourself up. We start with an almond sugar dough, which is similar to an almond cookie and we bake that all the way through first. Then we add almond and pastry cream, and top it with slices of poached Bartlett pears. It’s very delicious!

One of Fendu’s newest desserts is Valrhona Milk Chocolate Mousse with Earl Grey Jelly ($5.50). The foundation of this dessert is a jelly diffused with Earl Grey tea, which has a very subtle flavor. Then it’s topped with mousse made especially from Valrhona milk chocolate, which also has a very nice texture and mild flavor. Finally, it’s finished off with Earl Grey jelly and garnished with a piece of milk chocolate. The Earl Grey and the milk chocolate blend very nicely together.

DO: What are some changes that patrons can look forward to in the near future?

Koep: First of all, starting July 30, we will be open on Mondays from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. — we will now be open daily. Since we’ve opened people have wanted us to be open on Monday, and Monday is a very busy business day and a lot of people want pastries for their meetings or they want to come by for lunch. Now we have the extra staff, so we can handle it. We’re also going to begin serving breakfast sandwiches starting July 31 as well. Many of our customers have been asking for them, and the breakfast sandwiches will be available from 7:30 to 11 a.m. In addition, our lunch sandwiches also will be available earlier on in the day starting at around 9:30 a.m. We want to let our patrons know that we plan to add more desserts and cakes to the menu as well.

Fendu Boulangerie

Manoa Marketplace
2752 Woodlawn Dr. #5119
988.4310
7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Open Monday 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. starting July 30