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‘Elua Announces Wine Dinner Series
‘Elua Press Release, February 18, 2008

`Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar today announced their Wine Dinner series for 2008, starting with a dinner on February 28 featuring Copeland Creek Vineyards.

Each wine dinner will feature a four-course dinner. Wine is paired with each of the first three courses. "We wanted to introduce the public to some of the boutique wineries in Italy and the United States represented by my company, Flavors of Italy" said ‘Elua co-owner and co-chef, Donato Loperfido.

On February 28 the restaurant will feature Copeland Creek Vineyards of Sonoma. It will be the first time these wines have been sold in Hawai‘i. Copeland Creek is a small winery in the Petaluma Gap owned by Kimberly Pfendler. Her son, Ryan Pullis, who is the winery‘s sales manager, will be on hand that evening to introduce the wines. A Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a Meritage will be poured.

The charge for the dinner is $70.00 including wines, excluding tax and tip.

The Power of Two
By Melissa Chang, Honolulu Advertiser, Urban Mix Plate Blog, January 8, 2008

After hearing all the hype, my friends decided to go to Elua—located in the old L‘Uraku space on Kapiolani Boulevard—and graciously invited me. Boy, was I happy to get THAT invitation!

‘Elua is the Hawaiian word for two, so that is the theme of this restaurant. It involves two cooking styles, French and Italian, by two renowned chefs, Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido, respectively. The menu, split in two (French on the left, Italian on the right), features wine pairings for all items, although you could order by the glass.

‘When I raved about my meal to media maven Pam Davis, she laughed, “If you drizzle white truffle oil on anything, it will taste good!” Not to say that it was that simple, but if you’re a truffle freak like us, you will love their liberal use of our favorite ingredient on their dishes.

Twice as Nice
Chefs Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani team up to create one good restaurant

By David K. Choo, Hawaii Business, October 2007

I used to be a big fan of the television cooking competitions, Iron Chef and Top Chef. With good food, high drama and cut-throat competition, they are irresistible food fights.

But I’m getting a little bored with them, because these television shows seem to be more about the cult of the celebrity chef rather than the food itself. It‘s the chef as star and tortured artist. Just shut up and cook. SAY CHEESE: Elua‘s fresh homemade cheese soaked in heavy cream and served with yellow and grape tomatoes. photo: Jimmy Forrest

That is why I was pleasantly surprised and relieved when I opened Elua’s menu. Elua means "two" in Hawaiian, and the restaurant features the dynamic duo of Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani, very fine chefs, who I have praised in these pages before. You would think that management would turn such a celebrity team into a theme throughout the restaurant. Instead, the lunch menu is simply split down the middle, with one half devoted to each chef. It was all about the food.

Bites of Paradise
Honolulu eats better than ever

By Joan Namkoong, Spirit of Aloha, The Magazine of Aloha Airlines, September/October, 2007

For the past few years, my fellow foodie friends and I have lamented the lack of anything new on the Honolulu dining scene, where, in the 1990s, a stable of restaurants impressed the culinary world with Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine. . . Within a matter of several weeks in late spring, seven new restaurants opened in Honolulu, raising the excitement level about the dining scene and sending food critics scurrying to each new venue.

These places reflect the personalities and visions of their chefs−−veterans of the restaurant scene, plus a couple of fresh faces, each with old and new ideas about how food should taste, look and feel.

. . . [‘Elua Co-Chef Donato] Loperfido is not unlike every other chef who possesses a passion for cooking classic dishes with high-quality products and presenting them in a more elaborate way on the plate. That‘s the concept behind ‘Elua, the Hawaiian word for "two", a partnership between Loperfido and Philippe Padovani, one of O‘ahu‘s acclaimed Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine chefs.

With Loperfido as the Italian classicist and Padovani as the French classicist, you can expect the menu to be, well, classic. On the Italian side there‘s osso bucco, veal tenderloin Rossini and a myriad of pasta dishes; on the French side, duck confit, foie gras and a selection of dishes from the former Pado–vani‘s Bistro.

But chefs rarely stick to the same repertoire and innovation is the name of the game as seasonal products play around in their creative heads. At ‘Elua, each chef presents a page on the menu and is involved in the kitchen—often on alternating nights. It’s the best of both worlds under one roof.

Gayot.com Restaurant Review: Elua
July 2007

Naysayers grumbled that two such talented and headstrong chefs couldn‘t work together and doubters opined that the concept was flawed. But true food lovers kept their fingers crossed when word leaked that Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido were opening a restaurant together. It turns out that the true food lovers were blessedly right.

Elua shows chefs Philippe, Donato two of a kind
By Wanda Adams, Honolulu Advertiser, July 27, 2007

When well-known Island chefs Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido announced their partnership in a new, fine-dining Mediterranean restaurant called ‘Elua ("Two"), I was interested but not sure what to think. How would these very opinionated chefs, both distinct personalities and both having run their own kitchens for years, create an integrated organization and menu? What did Philippe's French background have to do with Donato's Italian upbringing?

I needn‘t have worried. At least based on dinner the other night, they‘ve found common ground and conquered it. My husband and I joined some food-savvy friends for dinner there on a Saturday night, and it was interesting to see how each of us gravitated to the different sides of the menu (French left, and Italian right). The commonality, of course, is the greater Mediterranean region; Philippe was born in Marseille and Donato in Puglia; the ingredients, and the bright, true flavors of these areas are second nature to both.

Our waiter, Josh, explained that Philippe was in the kitchen that night, but that whichever of the principals is cooking (they trade off, as both have other business ventures), the trained second of the other is also there, so both sides are ably covered.

The restaurant is in the former L‘Uraku space on Kapi‘olani Boulevard but has been so transformed you wouldn't know you were in the same room. In place of the multicolored umbrellas on the ceiling and bright white walls, the room is now outfitted in dark wood, with Hawaiian-themed artwork by the likes of Avi Kariati. Very attractive.

The food was uniformly good to great at ‘Elua, but I'm going to rave about the service for a while.

Two top local chefs open new eatery: Donato Loperfido, Philippe Padovani join forces at‘Elua
From the Honolulu Advertiser Dining Out section, July 22, 2007

Philippe Padovani on the left. Donato Loperfido on the right. Two bigname chefs, one restaurant.

"Elua means two in Hawaiian," said co-owner Keith Kiuchi, referring to the name of this new restaurant that brings together these two top local chefs. "It's all about twosomes: two chefs, two menus, and food paired with wines, which are dispensed from a custom-built Cruvinet® that can fit magnums. It's the only one in the state."

Opened in late May,‘Elua occupies the spot left vacant by L'Uraku. Gone are the whimsical suspended umbrellas, bright colors and red banquettes. In their place are muted brown wood panels, Hawaiian artwork and highback chairs, combining to lend the room an air of understated sophistication.

"It works for their personalities," Kiuchi said. "It suits both Philippe and Donato, and their idea of a dining room."

The menu is NOT a collaborative effort between Padovani and Donato; nor is it a fusion of Italian and French cuisine.

Both chefs have their respective dishes listed in a side-by-side menu, with Padovani's on the left and Donato's on the right.

Down Under at Aloha Tower: Sample Australia's finest cuisine without getting on a plane
By Honolulu Advertiser Staff, June 20, 2007

Can't afford a vacation Down Under? The Australian American Chamber of Commerce is offering the next best thing: a tasting of dishes by leading chefs from Melbourne at "Melbourne — Under the Stars" Saturday at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Melbourne is said to be the food and wine capital of Australia, and among the guest chefs will be 2002 Good Food Awards chef of the year Paul Wilson. Also on hand will be Ian Curley of The European and The Supper Club, and Harry Lalai of Cecconi's Cantina.

And the event will offer an opportunity to experience the pooled talents of Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido, whose new restaurant,‘Elua, recently opened.

Restaurants: Helping Out
By Jo McGarry, Honolulu Advertiser, June 6, 2007

I believe that the restaurant industry is the backbone of our community. When we celebrate good things in our lives, we do it with food. And when we need help with fundraising, it is to the restaurant industry we turn. And that fundraising contributes greatly to things that really matter.

This was made abundantly clear to me last Friday at the opening of‘Elua, the new restaurant collaboration between chefs Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido. The event was a fundraiser (what else?) for the Kalihi-Palama Health Center, where Keith Kiuchi, co-owner of‘Elua, is the president of the board of directors.

Gayot.com Restaurant News

One of the original 12 Hawaii Regional Cuisine chefs, Philippe Padovani, has joined forces with Donato Loperfido (you may recall Loperfido as the chef-owner of the Manoa spot, Donato's, which closed in 2006) to open a restaurant and wine bar in the spot recently occupied by L'Uraku (1341 Kapi'olani Blvd., Honolulu). The new restaurant will be called 'Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar. The chefs have come up with a unique strategy—Padovani and Loperfido will not be working together in the kitchen, but will alternate cooking responsibilities. This approach allows both to pursue their other business interests.

Padovani, Loperfido in joint venture
By Wanda A. Adams, Honolulu Advertiser, April 6, 2007

After a long culinary lull, with few restaurant openings, the scene is perking up.

Two of the Islands' best-known chefs, Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido, have partnered to create a new restaurant,‘Elua ("Two"), in the former L'Uraku site on Kapi'olani Boulevard.

Food & Beverage Focus: Keith Kiuchi
By Jo McGarry, Honolulu Advertiser, March 23, 2007

Keith Kiuchi has a lot on his plate these days. In addition to chairing the KalihiPalama Health Center board as the center expands, the Honolulu-based attorney, who is also a part owner of the BLIMPIE franchise, is taking on a project with two of the city’s best chefs. Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido will open ‘Elua in May, under the watchful eye of Kiuchi.

Age: 51
Occupation: Attorney and co-owner of the new ‘Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar. I’m also responsible for the wine list at ‘Elua.

How did you get involved in the restaurant business?

My law partner and I bought the rights to the BLIMPIE Subs and Salads chain in Hawaii in 1997. We thought that even though we were attorneys, we could do a better job than the previous owners. I was asked to do legal work for Chef Philippe and Chef Donato because we owned the BLIMPIE chain in Hawaii and thus had some knowledge of the restaurant industry.

Have you always been interested in food?

Yes. I started cooking when I was in the Boy Scouts, and ever since then I’ve been interested in cooking.

Do you cook much at home?

Yes, I usually do the cooking at home. I love trying new and different recipes.

I know you’re a great wine lover. What sparked that interest?

Buying a small book called Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine so I wouldn’t look like a clod when I ordered wine when I went out for dinner at a restaurant. That book really got me interested in trying different wines. It’s funny going from a small pocket encyclopedia to running Philippe’s wine list, which at one point had more than 800 different selections.

Talented duo teams up. . .
By Jo McGarry, Honolulu Advertiser, March 16, 2007

If it’s true that two heads are better than one, then the hottest restaurant spot in the city is destined to be over at 1341 Kapiolani Blvd., at the site of the former L’Uraku restaurant. Out are the painted umbrellas (thank goodness), and in are European-style furnishings, lots of local ingredients and two of Honolulu’s most talented chefs.

Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido have teamed up to open ‘Elua Restaurant and Wine Bar. They hope to open May 4 with a fundraiser for Kalihi Palama Health Center.

“We are very good friends,” Loperfido says of his relationship with Padovani. “We’ve worked together at Chef Series events, and during them we realized that we work well in the kitchen.”

Restaurateurs expand empire with 'Elua, side ventures
By Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 14, 2007

THE two-chefs-one-kitchen venture 'Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar will open in early May in the old L'Uraku space on Kapiolani Boulevard.

It was first reported here Feb. 13 that Hawaii chefs Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani planned to open a restaurant together.

Wine will be a focus of the restaurant, which will feature a 24-spigot cruvinet and offer by-the-glass pairings with its menu of trendy small-plates and traditional entrees. The average check will be $35 per person without beverages.

'Elua will serve lunch Monday through Friday and may expand service to the weekends. Dinner and a late night menu of savory and dessert dishes will be served nightly.

Opening is targeted for May 5, if renovations go according to plan.

'Elua's partners are hiring and want to mentor college and high school students exploring culinary careers -- but only those "with big ambition ... the ones who really have a passion," Loperfido said.

Both chefs' professional plates are overflowing, with 'Elua and expansion of each's own empire.