Mad Bene, an Italian restaurant in Kapolei had opened in December right before the Government lockdown and was forced to pivot and help serve the community. Bao Tran, executive chef of Mad Bene has spent over 10 years in New York perfecting authentic Italian cuisine before arriving in Oahu. He also spent four months polishing his skills in Viareggio, Italy at a hilltop restaurant overlooking the ocean. Tran worked alongside the head chef, tasting the best of what Italian cuisine has to offer and learning all of the traditional techniques.
Tran took the best of both worlds and decided to create Mad Bene, an authentic Italian restaurant late last year in December. His wife Jennifer Akiyoshi grew up on Oahu and met Bao in New York before coming back to her hometown. Henry Yoon and Jin Hong owners of Mad Bene both share the value of Ohana. After the stay at home order was issued Mad Bene was willing to help the community. They partnered up with Meals on Wheels and was able to provide 7,600 meals in merely 10 days in March alone.
Mad Bene was also one of the first restaurants on Oahu to sign up with Chef Hui’s meal program to connect local chefs and struggling families. In exchange for a stipend a week, Mad Bene produced hundreds of meals per week to programs on the West Side of Oahu during the pandemic. Mad Bene credits Chef Hui to staying afloat for the last two and a half months.