My morning coffee habit has lately been getting tempted and tested by lots of new delicious pastries at Wailuku Coffee Company. Coconut chocolate chip scones, Nutella cheesecakes, gluten-free berry lemon muffins, vegan whoopie pie, brie foccacia, herbed popovers, blueberry crumble and fudgey brownies. There’s a whole new selection of goodies everyday. I had to figure out who was behind it, so I asked the owners Megan Kanekoa and Jackie Goring what was up.
“We hired a new baker and she is awesome!” said Kanekoa.
Her name is Katarina Kress. In the few months that she’s worked as pastry chef there, she’s created a whole new deli case full of pastries du jour.
“I want to be creative so I’m always cooking up new ideas,” she says. “Some people come in and order the same scone everyday–which, by the way, you can make requests for. But it’s kinda nice that feeling that you’re excited to try something new and have that item become the favorite. Or that feeling you get when something comes back that you’ve been waiting for.”
Kress has her base recipes for muffins, cakes, and breads, then sees what ingredients they have in the kitchen and creates new flavor combinations daily.
“I love making bread,” says Kress. “I do a savory pull-apart bread to die for. It adds a whole new appeal to the deli case. Not everyone wants a sandwich–having a savory pastry on the go can be even more satisfying than a sweet. Some people aren’t interested in having sugar in the morning or they’re looking to limit their sugar.”
Kress says Goring stocks the best quality ingredients in the kitchen and that’s the secret to why they’re so good. Figuring out the flavor alliances seems to come naturally to her; it’s all about what flavors complement each other, then adding texture from the addition of crumbles or nuts.
“I try to keep it diverse,” says Kress. “I make gluten-free, vegan and paleo, so no matter what dietary restriction you might have, there are options for everyone. My favorite thing to make right now is blueberry crumb cakes, and I’m loving the chocolate tarts I made. What I do is try a flavor like, say, Nutella, and make one item like scones with it. Then if people are loving it and it’s selling well, I’ll make another Nutella item like cheesecake, and then a muffin. I keep mixing it up.”
Kress also proudly wears her chef whites from the Maui Culinary Academy, where she’s finishing up her associates degree in Baking and Culinary Arts.
“I wear my chef coat from the college because that’s what I have, but also I like representing that I went to the culinary program,” she says. “It has given me a lot of structure and background. It’s knowledge I know I will use for the rest of my life.”
Wailuku Coffee Company
26 N. Market St., Wailuku