Marking the first on-staff role for an Executive Chef with the Festival and year-round support of new initiatives  

HONOLULU, HI (July 19, 2022)—The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival® (HFWF) is excited to announce the appointment of Hawaii-chef Colin Hazama as the Festival’s new Executive Chef, marking the first time that a chef has joined the staff in a year-round capacity for support beyond the fall festival season. The addition is an important distinction for HFWF—a major food and wine festival and esteemed nonprofit that was founded by two notable Hawaii chefs, Chef Roy Yamaguchi and Chef Alan Wong, in 2011.

While many food and wine festivals tout chef and culinary industry committees to guide programming, a dedicated, on-staff role for an Executive Chef is rare. “The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival was founded with the mission to spotlight Hawaii as a premiere epicurean and cultural destination, promoting its local culinary talent and diversity of homegrown and raised products,” said Denise Yamaguchi, HFWF Chief Executive Officer. “Creating a year-round position for an Executive Chef on the HFWF staff reinforces our commitment to represent Hawaii’s talented chefs at the forefront of the culinary industry and create global recognition for their unique cuisine.”

Hazama, who was born and raised in Hawaii, has built a well-respected reputation in the industry both locally and abroad. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Hazama worked in the prestigious kitchens of Alan Wong in Honolulu, as well as Roy Yamaguchi and Gary Danko in San Francisco, before turning his sights on the large culinary operations of Waikiki—both at the Sheraton Waikiki and the landmark, Royal Hawaiian hotels. Hazama’s dedication to working directly with farmers and local vendors to create his farm-fresh cuisine has garnered him numerous recognitions—including a James Beard Foundation nomination for “Rising Star Chef” in 2010, named one of Hawai‘i’s brightest young stars by Pacific Business News for its prestigious Forty Under 40 Class of 2015, and awarded 2018 Chef/Restaurateur of the Year by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association. Earlier this year, Hazama beat out two competitor chefs to go head-to-head with Chef Alex Guarnaschelli in the seafood challenge of Food Network’s “Alex vs America.”

In 2020, Hazama launched C4 Table, a pop-up/catering business that showcases fresh fish and partnerships with roughly 20 different farmers around the island. “Using fresh, local ingredients and produce is at the core of what C4 Table represents,” Hazama shared. “My dishes allow me to showcase my island roots through elevated comfort food created by applying the most updated techniques to the best available ingredients locally.”

Hazama is no stranger to the HFWF and has participated as a chef in nine lineups throughout the twelve-year history of the Festival. In his new role, Hazama will play an integral part in leading the coordination of all aspects of the annual HFWF, as well as numerous events throughout the year, related to food preparation, production and culinary activities. His experience in and beyond the kitchen (he’s also an avid spear fisher and diver) will allow him to embody the role of ambassador for the Festival—leveraging his culinary expertise to continue the HFWF mission to create world-class culinary experiences that spotlight the best of Hawaii’s locally grown, raised and caught ingredients.

“I’m beyond ecstatic and very humbled to join the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival as Executive Chef, led by the vision of Denise Yamaguchi and my chef mentors, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong,” shared chef Colin Hazama. “The Festival is world-renowned and I’ve always looked forward to participating and attending previous events. In this new role, I’m able to work with award-winning chefs from around the world, bringing them together to elevate Hawaii as a culinary mecca and deliver a cultural experience like no other—showcasing Hawaii’s bounty from land to sea,” he explained.

Hazama has already begun his duties working with over 80 chefs to execute 15 events across three islands for the Twelfth Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, returning October 20-November 6, 2022. Tickets are on sale now—attendees can view the lineup of events and chefs, purchase tickets, plan their travel and more by visiting Proceeds from HFWF ticket purchases support Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, as well as up-and-coming chef talent at local culinary colleges and agricultural education for Hawaii’s keiki. Stay connected—follow HFWF on Twitter/Instagram @HIFoodWineFest and Facebook at @HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.

For Press & Media inquiries, please contact:
Kristen Lau-Grover, Director of Marketing & PR | [email protected] or 808-721-1849

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific. The Festival features a roster of more than 150 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, sommeliers, mixologists, and wine and spirit producers. Co-founded by two of Hawaii’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the Festival showcases culinary experiences, wine tastings, cultural engagement and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the State’s bounty of fresh, local produce, seafood, beef, poultry and spices. Since 2011, the Festival has given over $3 million to support local beneficiaries committed to culinary and agricultural education, sustainability and cultural programs in Hawaii.