The only thing that could make hanging off a zipline a better adventure would be adding a food truck. That’s exactly what Daryl Fujiwara had in mind when he planned his HappyOpu events. In fact, the first one happens this Sunday at Pi’iholo Zipline with Maui Fresh Streatery. We picked Fujiwara’s brain about how his tasty adventure idea came about, and what will set it apart from other foodie events:
MAUITIME: What is the foodie philosophy behind HappyOpu and what’s in store for the project?
DARYL FUJIWARA: Tracie Takatani–my partner in crime on this “Tasty Adventure”–and I really want to challenge the chefs we are partnering with by asking them to push the themed ingredient or theme to their creative extreme. Our next HappyOpu will be inspired by traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, another will deconstruct Hawaiian favorites and later, around the holidays, Hawaii chocolate. Right now, it’s looking quarterly for our events.
MT: Tell us how Maui Fresh Streatery was chosen for this event and what they will creating.
DF: Chef Kyle Kawakami is so talented. Changing Maui Fresh Streatery’s menu and theme every two weeks is the epitome of a “Tasty Adventure.” You can’t expect to show up at Maui Fresh Streatery’s food truck at Ilima Gas Station [on Ka’ahumanu Avenue in Kahului] after an hour of being opened without dishes being sold out. The line starts an hour before they open. Chef Kyle really does know how to make delicious food!
MT: Will you always be working with Maui Fresh Streatery?
DF: I want to showcase all of the chefs that make my opu happy! So, no, we won’t always be sharing Maui Fresh Streatery’s talents. Some of the other chefs we are looking to work with include up and coming Maui powerhouse chef Lyndon Honda and the Food Network’s Great Foodtruck Race winning chef Adam Tabura.
MT: Chef Adam Tabura? Does that mean Aloha Plate truck will be on Maui?
DF: Oh, just Adam on his own–the truck is not here. He’s been home on Maui for a while now but does get flown away often to do Aloha Plate truck stuff on the continent. While on Maui, he does cater private events–I believe he did the Pu’unene ground-breaking for Mayor last–and he also has a small business called the Spice Rack. He was last at Maui Food Technology Center’s event up in Pukalani selling specialty spices.
MT: How will HappyOpu be different from other food and drink experiences?
DF: We’re riding on the ever popular pop-up trend. HappyOpu is all about collaborating and, like Oprah, we want to share all of our “favorite things”–which, coincidentally, are local businesses, and presenting them in a unique atmosphere. I mean ziplining to your food is fairly unique–definitely a first for Pi’iholo Zipline. We’re so excited that they’re collaborating with us and bringing our vision to life.
MT: Are you planning on zipping? Have you done the Pi’iholo Zip before?
DF: This Sunday, no I won’t be zipping. I’ll be welcoming and hosting. I have zipped at Pi’iholo. Doing our walk-through was my first time so I have a soft spot now for Pi’iholo, I lost my zipline virginity there. I love rollercoasters and stuff so I didn’t think anything of it but, not going to lie, right when I was about to launch on the “orientation” line, I got nervous. While I was sliding down the first thing I thought was that I felt very safe. After that was out of the way there was only room to enjoy the spectacular views and enjoy my experience. It felt like I was flying.