One of the best new restaurant in Honolulu is, without a doubt, MW Restaurant. The husband and wife team of Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka have taken their years of experience at Alan Wong’s to craft a menu based on availability of local produce, fish and meats—it’s the next generation of Hawai’i Regional Cuisine. Karr-Ueoka, a 2014 James Beard Foundation nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef, handles the dessert menus, which take the full meal experience to an even higher euphoria. Don’t think of these dishes as just the ending to a meal; the desserts are the start of something amazing in their own right. HILuxury HQ had a chance to catch up with Karr-Ueoka recently to see what’s she’s working on next. (Pictured above: Kula Strawberry “Cheesecake” with Li-Hing Ume Filled Strawberries, Strawberry Yuzu Sorbet and Kiawe Graham Crackers)
HILuxury HQ: How did you get started in pastry/desserts? Was it a culinary direction you were always interested in?
Michelle Karr-Ueoka: I was always interested in culinary and pastry, but I did not realize the depth of my passion for pastry until my stage at Per Se.
HQ: What inspires you to come up with your dessert ideas?
MKU: My main inspiration comes from our local farmers. What is in season at the time, and also what I am craving to eat.
HQ: One thing that really stands out is the attention to texture variation in you desserts—is this something that you are thinking about when you come up with new menu options?
MKU: Yes. I like texture variation. Crispy, crunchy, soft, squishy, creamy, burst in your mouth, etc.
HQ: How would you describe your desserts?
MKU: Sometimes nostalgic, reflecting my upbringing as a child in Hawai‘i, and oftentimes I aim to showcase the true bounty of our local farmers.
HQ: What is the future direction for your dishes? Any new techniques or ingredients or presentations?
MKU: Currently working on hot fudge sundae popsicle, Kula strawberry float and a pineapple shave ice.
MW Restaurant, 1538 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 955-6505, www.mwrestaurant.com
Photo courtesy MW Restaurant