A Kapolei woman turned her epidemic hobby into a business and a tribute to her Hawaiian roots.

HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) – Keala Souza created the Hawaiian Bread Company from her Kapolei home during the lockdown and looked to her own Hawaiian culture for inspiration.

Souza has a background as a hula dancer, but before baking, she worked as a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines for 9.5 years. While traveling the world, she developed a love for classic Parisian baked goods, but saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between traditional French baking and her Hawaiian culture.

When you think of a bakery, the French, the Europeans, and I really wanted to show that Hawaiian space, Hawaiian flavors, Hawaiian textures, can take place in places where you wouldn’t normally see or think of Hawaii. He said.

She began her journey as a breadwinner to keep her family healthy and sustainable during the pandemic. “It was born out of bad timing for all of us,” Souza said.

But after mastering the art of perfect dough bread, she began to create a delicious, multi-sensory experience of how to elevate simple bread using Hawaiian flavors and Hawaiian imagery found in Hawaiian quilting and art.

“When the idea of ​​a bakery came to mind, I think I got the feeling, but how can I respect our culture? How can I honor my culture and share that with Hawaiians? Hawaiian food and flavors can take us places we don’t want to be.

Starting with the flavor, Souza is bridging the gap between French bread and Hawaiian flavors, creating items like kalo bagels, ulu and mamaki breads, and haupia cinnamon rolls.

Souza learns a valuable lesson while traveling through Japan as a flight attendant; “You eat with your eyes first,” says Suza.

This inspired a collaboration with Hawaiian artist Teddy Kahaki, who helped create Hawaiian-motif stencils and templates for her baked goods and logo.

But the cooperation does not end here. Hawaiian Bread Company is a family affair. Souza’s husband helps run social media for the Hawaiian Bread Company. Even the children contribute by acting as quality control.

“Every time my daughter orders, she makes sure she has her own bread. She doesn’t care; Always ‘Mom, where’s my bread?’ she says. And no one is allowed to touch it – this is hers.

You can get your hands on her cakes by placing an order on her Instagram direct messages. But Souza encourages anyone interested to try making bread themselves — you can get your own Hawaiian Bread Company yeast starter kit here .

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