Story by Anni Caporuscio

Photos by Steve Meredith

Fish sampler. All the fish is, of course, locally caught and of the highest grade. Included is a beautiful oyster resting on a bed of sea salt, lomi poke sashimi, and a centerpiece of artistic components.

Fish sampler. All the fish is locally caught and of the highest grade. Included is a beautiful oyster resting on a bed of sea salt, lomi poke sashimi, and a centerpiece of artistic components.

Picture this. You walk from the parking lot of a tiny Kapa‘a shopping center into a completely different world, where the ambiance and the food make you feel like you’re in a sensory-loaded dream.

Chef Jean-Marie Josselin’s Asian-Pacific fusion cuisine already had a legendary reputation. But with JO2, his newest enterprise, he has topped anything he has done.

JO2 is cozy, intimate and comprised of eccentric bits of luxury décor: art deco fixtures, textured wall panels, warm lighting. Contemporary with a subtle presence, everything is cream and with beige gradients, like an empty canvas waiting for the color.

And the color is the food.

In every dish, vibrant colors and flavors balance each other, like in an artist’s palette.

Jean-Marie Josselin, right, and one of his staff members are seen here at JO2's kitchen.

Jean-Marie Josselin, right, and one of his staff members are seen here at JO2’s kitchen.

The artist here, Josselin, refers to his menu as “Natural Cuisine.”

“How else would you do it?” he said, with a shrug.

Josselin spends an immense amount of time with farmers, planning his menu. And he adjusts it frequently, based on what is available each season.

For example, JO2 usually stocks eight types of tomatoes. But now, during hot and slow growing months, there are only two, which reflects on the menu. On the flipside, oxcart carrots, which take up to six months to grow (wow!), are in season — and on the menu.