Fendu’s Collection of Guilt-free Food Items

Columns Foodie Fare

December 29, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Leah Friel

With a tantalizing array of pastries and desserts, as well as hot food items including sandwiches and pizza, Fendu Boulangerie prepares everything in what owner and chef Niel Koep explains is the European style.

“That means we don’t load things with a lot of sugar,” he says. “We’re not adding any chemicals to anything. The ingredients that we use are all natural.”

Plus, Fendu bakes everything fresh daily, and the results are simple yet tasty, including Baguette ($3.85) made from flour, water, yeast and salt.

A popular dessert at this Manoa bakery is Pear Almond Tart ($2.85 per slice), which features an almond dough crust stuffed with almond cream and pastry cream topped with poached Bartlett pears.

The hot food menu includes items such as Vegetarian Pizza ($10.50 for an 8-inch and $16.50 for a 14-inch pizza), made from Fendu’s own pizza dough and flavored with marinara sauce, Japanese eggplant, bell peppers, sweet onions, zucchini and fresh tomatoes.

“Our pizzas are made with dough that we throw to order,” Koep explains.

Another best-seller is Pesto Chicken Panini ($8.75), which features chicken tenderloins sauteed with Hawaiian salt and black pepper, and grilled on a rustic bun, and accented with bacon, mayonnaise, farm-fresh tomatoes, shallots and goat cheese. And, of course, the panini is made with Fendu’s fresh bread.

One thing Koep likes best about owning his own bakery is the freedom it affords him to create new items.

“First, I make something that I think tastes good,” he says. “Then I think of what will appeal to our customers’ tastes, and from there, we try it out.”

Koep always takes customer opinion into heavy consideration. He often has regular customers sample new selections and welcomes their feedback.

A new creation that Koep recently unveiled is Pate de Fruit, also known as Fruit Paste (99 cents each or a dozen for $10), which are individual candies that are made from fruit puree, sugar and pectin. Pate de Fruit is gluten-free, fat-free and dairy-free.

“We are going to start to identify more things that are gluten-free because of all of the people who have been asking for it,” Koep says.

Fendu also plans to offer various soups in the near future.

“Of course, they are going to be soups that are made here with no added chemicals,” Koep says.

On the Side

Fendu Boulangerie opened its doors in 2009, turning a lifelong dream into reality for owner and chef Niel Koep.

“I’ve always wanted to run my own bakery,” Koep says.

Koep has been in the restaurant industry since he was just 15, working his way up from cleaning the floors at a New Jersey restaurant to working in several fine-dining establishments before becoming the executive chef at Four Seasons on Lanai.

“I always have wanted to be free and make what I think is good,” he says. “When you work in a hotel, the food has to be approved by a committee, but here it is just me and the customer. And I have complete freedom to do whatever I want here.”

With that freedom, Koep has begun creating hot food as well as pastries, and Fendu Boulangerie serves up sandwiches and pizzas that are just as tasty as the muffins and scones.

“It’s very satisfying to be able to do all of that,” Koep says.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Fendu Boulangerie

Manoa Marketplace
2752 Woodlawn Drive
Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96822

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