Maui Food and Dining

Lucky 7 Dining Event Goes On The Menu at HFWF

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A Japanese term for hospitality known as “omotenashi” has helped define Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s philosophy as a chef and business leader.

“Omotenashi means to take care,” he explains. “I’m in the hospitality industry; we make food, we provide service, we are always taking care of our guests.  You make sure everything is great, you provide, it’s like family.”

Yamaguchi, who was born and raised in Tokyo, helped spur the Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine movement; has launched 30 different culinary endeavors, to include the enduring Roy’s Restaurants brand; and co-founded the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival (HFWF) with his wife Denise Yamaguchi and fellow chef Alan Wong.


“We just started to go to different hotels and asking people in the different industries; fishermen, farmers ranchers, and got everybody involved,” he recalls.

Fast-forward seven years, and Yamaguchi put his chef skills on display here on Maui, as one of 12 chefs featured at Global Street Food, a walk-around dining event at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on October 21.  See that event in our video.

Interestingly enough, another Japanese word inspired a different chef’s business. Niki Nakayama launched the highly-acclaimed n/naka in Los Angeles, California, where she applies artistic and technical notions of kaiseki, which is the traditional Japanese culinary practice that emphasizes balance and seasonality in a series of dishes.


“What I love about kaiseki is it is about being grateful,” says Nakayama, a James Beard Award semifinalist and featured chef on the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table. “It’s about being thankful to nature, being thankful for all the things that nature provides for us, really respecting that, and trying to translate that to people when they dine so they can feel the same way.”

Nakayama was among six master chefs who crafted culinary creations at Hawaiian Airlines Presents Lucky 7 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa on October 22. The seven-course, wine-paired dinner marked the seventh anniversary of the festival.  Learn more about it in the video above.

Maui has previously been the place to kick-off the statewide culinary tour, but next year, leaders are mixing it up.  The festival will start instead on Hawai‘i Island October 6, 2018, then head to Maui October 19 to 21, and O‘ahu from October 24 to 28.


HFWF promotes sustainability and celebrates the bounty of locally caught, grown or raised ingredients. It features a roster of more than 100 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers.

The festival has raised $1.7 million for the State’s agricultural and culinary programs since its 2011 launch, giving back to local groups like the Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui Culinary Academy, and IMUA Family Services. For more details, visit the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival website.


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