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Chuck Furuya

Photo from Chuck Furuya

Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya recently returned from Hawaii Island, where he and Oahu chefs hosted a wine and food dinner along with chefs from Hawaii Island.

Furuya, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Nov. 24, 1993, along with Richard Dean, is leaving for New York this Friday to host a wine and food workshop at the eighth annual International Chefs Congress Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

Although Furuya is a master sommelier, he wants to bring the tastes and ingredients of Hawaii with him to New York to create amazing food and wine pairings.

“If I just did the wine tasting, what would be the benefit for Hawaii?” he poses. “We morphed the class into more of a wine and food workshop.”

Traveling with Furuya are D.K. Kodama, Ed Kenney and five local executive chefs. Furuya and his team will be showcasing local foods on a national level. The group will be creating dishes such as Truffled Lobster Ramen (using Kona Cove lobster) and Crispy Kanpachi.

“We’re using the wine for us to be able to showcase a little bit of food from Hawaii,” Furuya says. “It’s about showing the East Coast and hopefully around the world that we’re doing things in Hawaii.”

To cultivate the culinary industry in Hawaii, Furuya takes part in Chef’s Table, a monthly event at Restaurant Row. This isn’t about creating dishes comprised of locally grown or locally caught foods, it’s about the local workforce.

“We are educating the local workforce to compete for the best jobs,” he explains. “(We want to) make sure all of our people also are moving forward.

“We’re trying to make sure we come up with new dishes and new thoughts. All of our staff get to learn the front and back of the house.”

The next Chef’s Table, which takes place Oct. 25, will be held in Hiroshi’s private dining room, and those interested can call Hiroshi (533-4476) for reservations.

“We’re trying to develop foods from our culinary teams from Hiroshi and Vino, and each chef back there is going to do one course,” Furuya explains. “It’s about making sure all of our people are learning.”

Other than the culinary scene, Furuya and wife Cheryle welcomed their first grandchild, Liliana Patacchia (20 months old). Liliana is the daughter of Furuya’s daughter Melissa, who is married to pro-surfer Fred Patacchia.

“When you see the cycle of life happening, it’s so cool,” he adds. “It’s just cool to see your kids evolve.”

Furuya and Cheryle have four children between them: Melissa, Whitney, Kale and Jason.