Maui’s Growing Community and New Opportunities for UHMC Culinary Students
On Friday, February 10, an excited crowd gathered to celebrate Kolea, a new restaurant that officially opened its doors Saturday in the Kahana Gateway Center. Created by Adam Fuderer and Alison Isabelle, the same brother and sister team that brought Maui Slappy Cakes, Kolea is a Pacific Rim restaurant with South East Asian influences.
The night began with a traditional Hawaiian Blessing by Reverend Laki Kaahumanu to wish Kolea a bright future. Mayor Alan Arakawa spoke to show his support for the Kolea opening. The mayor shared that Maui businesses such as Slappy Cakes and Kolea are important to provide jobs and opportunities for the Maui community. “Together, I understand that they are going to employ over 100 people,” Arakawa said. “It’s one by one, everybody doing their part, that makes Maui the great place that it is.” During the blessing, Fuderer was invited to ask individuals he was thankful for to wash their hands in the sacred bowl. “There’s not enough water in this bowl for all the people that I want to thank,” Fuderer said, “It’s taken an entire community to get this restaurant open.”
After the blessing, the crowd bustled around to try signature Kolea appetizers. Among the crowd were our very own UH Maui College culinary arts students from the CULN 292-V Work Practicum class. “That class is about students going out and having experience in any number of different venues with different chefs,” said Work Practicum instructor Dan Schulte. The culinary arts students supported the opening by doing the prep work before the event. Schulte explained that the Work Practicum class is an opportunity to gain experience while also making connections with the Maui culinary world. “Many of our students quickly find job opportunities,” Schulte said.
After their hard work, the students were invited to stay for the grand opening party and represent UH Maui College. “We are looking to start an ongoing relationship with the UH culinary program,” said Fuderer.
“They are a lot of fun, great attitudes and they were a tremendous help tonight,” said Executive Chef Jordan Slone, “they got in there and just worked it out, they are a very talented group of kids.” Owners Fuderer and Isabelle have been working to create Kolea for two years and Chef Slone worked with them for the last nine months. Chef Slone will oversee kitchen operations for Kolea and is currently the Executive Chef for Slappy Cakes. “I’m just excited for this new project that we’ve been working on for quite some time,” Slone said, “and just to have it all come to fruition is very very exciting.”
Fuderer was inspired to create Kolea when traveling to South East Asia to franchise Slappy Cakes. In the Malaysia, Singapore area Fuderer discovered a style of food called nyonya, which is a intersection of native Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine. “So together they’ve created this really unique cuisine that I hadn’t tasted anywhere else,” said Fuderer. As soon as he tasted it years ago, he knew he wanted to bring it to America and has been working to create Kolea ever since. Kolea’s unique menu features items such as spicy noodles, satay and colorful salads.
“What we want is to have an affordable, fun, healthy restaurant where you can go eat regularly,” said Fuderer. He shared that Kolea was created with the intention of being somewhere that local people can come and enjoy regularly without breaking the bank.
Kolea is open from 5pm to 10pm daily. It is located in the top floor of 4405 Honoapiilani Highway, at the Kahana Gateway Center in the old Roy’s space. For more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Kolea is also available for catering and private events.