Author mug By The Glass

Chuck Furuya

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Culinary volunteers
to share their talent
on a starry night

It's greAt to see highly successful professionals teaching the next generation their craft and passing along their wisdom and invaluable experience.

That is what will be happening Friday at the sold-out Taste of the Stars benefit for Leeward Community College's culinary program.

Taste of the Stars is one of the islands' premier wine and food events, but more importantly it is a gathering of top professionals in the state's culinary field and therefore a golden, hands-on opportunity for the students to learn.

This year's line-up of chefs includes 19 local all-stars, spearheaded by event co-chairs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, both members of the culinary program's Board of Advisors.

But thanks are also due to the wine professionals who have donated their time and resources for the evening and all the pre-event planning necessary to such a huge undertaking.

Spearheading service for the VIP tables is Mark Shishido, manager of Alan Wong's Pineapple Room. Assisting him will be Richard and Emily Field; Ivy Nagayama, Monique Yamamoto, Casey Ho and Vern Floranda (Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar); Kelli Kojima and Cam Luyt (Roy's); Lisa Higashiguchi (Hoku's); Ann Taketa, Paul Matsunoto and Ronnie Sakata (Hyatt Regency Waikiki); Duane Kawamoto (L'Uraku); Kevin Toyama and Tim Learmont (R. Field Wine Co.); Ed Mikesh (Manele Bay Hotel); David Hirasa (VINO); Gabriel Salcedo (Fujioka Wine Merchants); and Darren Yasui (Waialae Country Club), just to name a few.

A mention should also be made of Southern Wines & Spirits, Better Brands and Johnson Brothers, which have donated wines and their time to pour at the event.

Events like this and their profound residual benefits for the students re-inspire me year after year. Thanks to all who make it happen.

And, to the 1,300 attendees at the event, thank you for your support. Enjoy the evening, as there are very few events like this.

For those who are truly adventuresome, look to try different kinds of wines with the various foods. Try recommendations. This is the perfect venue to be really adventurous.

Chuck Furuya is Hawaii's only master sommelier and a member of the Board of Advisors for the LCC culinary program.

This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to


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