Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival Raises Record $414K for Nonprofits

Nikki Schenfeld · March 6, 2018, 12:03 PM HST (Updated March 6, 2018, 12:51 PM) · 0 Comments

HFWF17 mahalo check photo. Photo Courtesy Hawaii Food & Wine

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival raised a record $414,000 for 23 non-profit beneficiaries from its landmark seventh annual event.

The event, held Oct. 20 through Nov. 5, 2017 attracted more than 10,000 attendees for the first time, and boosted total giving from Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival to more than $2 million in seven years.

“As Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival grows and shines a spotlight on Hawai‘i as a culinary destination, we’re able to raise more money for nonprofit charitable organizations that share our passion for food sustainability, culture, education and causes that align with our mission,” says Denise Yamaguchi, HFWF Chief Executive Officer. “It’s rewarding to give back and invest in our up and coming chef talent at local culinary colleges, local farmers, and ag education for children. This year, it was also important for us to lend a hand to California wineries affected by wildfire since they’re staples of our Festival.”

A $407,000 check presented during a Mahalo Reception March 5 at Mariposa brought the grand total for money donated in 2017 to beneficiaries to $414,000 for HFWF.

The reception featured tastings by HFWF Co-Founders Roy Yamaguchi & Alan Wong, Colin Hazama from Royal Hawaiian, and Mariposa’s Lawrence Nakamoto. “We’re in this together,” said Roy Yamaguchi. “Our mission has always been to Taste Our Love for the Land.” Alan Wong credited exposure from the Festival for shattering stereotypes that Hawai‘i cuisine consists of “pineapple and macadamia nuts.”

2017 Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival beneficiaries include:

Culinary Institute of the Pacific- $80,000
Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation- $70,000
Imua Family Services- $50,000
Kapi‘olani Community College Culinary Arts Program- $50,000
Kapi‘olani Community College Hospitality and Tourism Program- $25,000
Leeward Community College Culinary Arts Program- $25,000
Maui County Farm Bureau- $20,000
Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund- $10,000
The Sonoma County Community Foundation Resilience Fund- $10,000
Hawai‘i Island Community College Culinary Arts Program- $10,000
Maui Culinary Arts Program- $10,000
Paepae o He‘eia- $7,500
Papahana Kuaola- $7,500
Hoa ʻĀina O Mākaha- $7,500
Kaua‘i Community College Culinary- $5,000
Hawai‘i Seafood Council- $5,000
Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation- $2,500
Nā Kama Kai- $3,000
Waipa Foundation- $3,000
E Ala Voyaging Academy- $3,000
Ho‘opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill- $3,000
Wai‘anae High School Culinary Program- $1,500
Waipahu High School- $1,500
Keiki in the Kitchen Recipe Contest Scholarship- $500
Hanalei Taro & Juice Co.- $500
Wai‘alae Keiki Hula- $500


Franklin Arguelles of Roy’s Ko Olina also earned a grant that will cover travel and living expenses to stage in acclaimed restaurants through a partnership between HFWF and the prestigious culinary nonprofit, ment’Or BKB Foundation.

HFWF is a program of the nonprofit, Hawai‘i Ag and Culinary Alliance. Its mission is to attract national and international attention to the extraordinary culinary talent, as well as the diversity of quality locally grown products to ensure Hawai‘i maintains its competitive edge as a world-class destination.

In seven years, HFWF has expanded from a 3-day festival with 30 chefs in Waikiki to more than 20 events spanning on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island. HFWF17 welcomed 10,843 festival attendees, including 1,900 mainland and international visitors to 20 events featuring 120 top chefs, 50 wine makers, and 12 mixologists.

Two new events in May will officially launch HFWF 2018 at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. At that time, the festival will announce the talent and themes for the eighth annual festival happening October 6 – 28, 2018.

Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter/editor. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.


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