Market Fresh Bistro: The Upcountry Q&A

 Q.  What three people would you invite to your "dream" dinner party?

 . . . and what would you serve?

See answers and Proustian Questionnaire below! 


              Photo: Chef Justin and Olivia Colletti, aka. "Culinary Cupid"                                                                         

Market Fresh Bistro

 A Glocal Chef, Culinary Cupid & the Wine Curator

Whenever the question of where to go for lunch in Makawao, in upcountry Maui, Hawaii,  comes up, inevitably the quick answer is "let's go to that great restaurant . . . the one tucked away in the courtyard . . . what's the name again? Oh right, Market Fresh Bistro." Market Fresh is remembered because what is served there is exactly what the name intended.

Sit outside in the quaint European-like courtyard with both sunlight and breezes dappling through the shade trees or go inside for a buzzier experience with open kitchen. Either way, check out Market Fresh Bistro's signature salad because it is remarkable.  Seemingly so simple, yet every taste has a just-picked essence; this alone is worth the trip. You will sense. . . this is what local fresh tastes like, what a real salad is, and . . . oh, this is Maui.

 Add a beautiful piece of fish, sandwich or soup in this casual setting with a tab that makes one come back, and life is more than good.  

Chef Justin is no stranger to Farmer's Market freshness and farm-to-table cooking. With an early career start at NYC's Union Square Cafe, Chef was on the vanguard of pioneering cooking from the local Greenmarket and skipping food trendiness while promoting a friendly atmosphere. It shows because this is a very popular spot for both locals and visitors. 

Olivia Colletti, self-described as the restaurant's "Culinary Cupid", is "long time mate" with David Magenheim, wine specialist at Market Fresh Bistro, who also learned his craft in NYC's Greenwich Village.   

She answers our Proustian Q&A below:  

Q.Your most memorable meal while traveling abroad?

A.  In the south of France, we had breakfast in a small bistro that offered over-easy eggs, rosemary-roasted potatoes, house-cured pork, all served in a skillet with a rose' wine. Everything we ate was from the chef's house, the chicken for the eggs, the pig, the veggies, even the grapes for the rose' he grew and made the wine.  It was perfect.


Q. What meal or food ingredient could you not live without?

 A. Garlic.


Q.  Why is upcountry sourcing so important to you?

A.  Besides the fact that we need to support our community, it's the freshest and tastes the best.


Q.  What do you most value with your friends?

A.   Honesty and silliness.


Q.  Where do you like to go when you eat out?

A.  Friends' houses!


 Q.  What would people be surprised to find in your home kitchen?

A.  That we don't actually have any food, plates or utensils in our house anymore.


 Q.  What (who) jumpstarted your love of food?

 A.  Our mom.


Q. What's your cocktail of choice?

A. Rose' or vodka with a hunk of fresh fruit, such as watermelon or pineapple.


Q.  Favorite Hawaiian ingredient and how you use it?

A.  Chef makes a kalo-crusted fish that is amazing

(Editor's Note: We found a video of it - see below!)


Q. Describe your perfect Maui moment.

A.   Sunday afternoon with the workweek over and we are at Baldwin Beach with the dogs and a DJ is playing house music.


Q. Are you an eggs and bacon kind of gal or fruit and yogurt?

A.  Definitely eggs & bacon.


Q. Which three people would you invite to your "dream" dinner party?

A.   Bill Clinton, Jay Z & Bono.


Q. What would you serve?

A.  Local rabbit, grilled veggies, quinoa pilaf & Barbaresco.


Q. What is your most popular lunch at Market Fresh Bistro?

A.  Our house vegetable salad with a side of fresh catch.


Q. Do you have a culinary hero or heroine?

A.  My brother, Justin.


Q. What is your life motto?

A.  Don't let anyone tell you what to do!


Q.  What do you think was the aha moment for Market Fresh Bistro?

A.  My brother (Chef) loves cooking Mediterranean style food from his travels and how we grew up eating in New York . . .so when you combine that experience and incorporate the great local veggies/fish /meats on Maui , you get a perfect combination!


Editor's Note:

P.S.  It's is a family affair:  Chef Justin and Olivia are brother and sister.

You also may want to check out the Global Tasting Dinner on Thursday nights with a
large shared-table seating set-up. With a premium-fixed- priced menu, this multi-course food experience is about high- quality local ingredients and flavors prepared with a global theme du jour, and of course, plenty of socializing and food & wine talk.
It's an event.


Market Fresh Bistro
3620 Baldwin Ave.
Makawao, HI 96768
And here is a recipe for kalo-crusted monchong (a Hawaiian fish similar to swordfish):



Food & Love