New Leadership in Special Events, Public Relations and Culinary Coordination Roles


HONOLULU, HI (April 12, 2019) – Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival (HFWF) kicks off its ninth annual year welcoming new talent in the positions of Special Events Manager, Public Relations Manager and Culinary Coordinator. This new team joins HFWF to lead planning, promotion and execution efforts for the premier epicurean event in the Pacific as it launches its 2019 season.


The new hires include:


  • Special Events Manager, Channon Cruz

Prior to joining HFWF, Channon Cruz worked in the marketing department for two of the top apparel retailers in Hawai‘i, Reyn Spooner and Surf Line Hawaii, coordinating event activations and in-store promotions.  He also spent service nearly two decades in the service industry, rising through the ranks, spending seven years at Roy’s Ko Olina. His primary responsibilities will be to oversee the planning, coordination and execution of Festival events. Cruz was born and raised on O‘ahu and calls Mililani home.


  • Public Relations Manager, Michelle Rice

Michelle Rice joins HFWF with seven years of experience at New York City-based public relations firms, where she developed communication strategies for global consumer brands including 23andMe, Laura Mercier, Fidelity Investments, Olay, Conair and more. In 2018, she managed production of the first Franciacorta Wine Festival in the U.S. market on behalf of the Consorzio of Franciacorta sparkling wines. She will oversee, develop and implement all communication and public relations strategies for HFWF.  Rice was raised on the North Carolina coast and moved to O‘ahu.


  • Culinary Coordinator/Executive Assistant, Colleen Teramae

Colleen Teramae served as a Legislative Office Manager at the Hawai‘i State Legislature before joining HFWF, spending eight years in the State House of Representatives – District 45 Waianae/Makaha and another eight years in the Hawai‘i State Senate – District 21 Waianae/Leeward Coast. Teramae will play a critical role in culinary coordination, travel, and donor relations.  She will also assist the CEO with board development and administration.  Teramae was born and raised in Kalihi and currently resides in Kaka‘ako.


“As the premiere epicurean event in the Pacific, HFWF requires a team of leaders who have the talent, drive, and capabilities to further build upon its reputation as a world-class Festival,” said Denise Yamaguchi, CEO of HFWF. “These appointments were strategic and came at a crucial time for HFWF as it prepares for another exciting season and its 10th anniversary next year.”


Stay connected with the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival via www.HFWF.me, and follow HFWF on Twitter/Instagram @HIFoodWineFest and Facebook at hawaiifoodandwinefestival.


About Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival

The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival is the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific. The Festival features a roster of more than 100 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Co-founded by two of Hawai‘i’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the Festival will showcase wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry. Proceeds support local beneficiaries committed to sustainability and cultural and educational programs in Hawai‘i.