Chuck Furuya, M.S./Partner DK Restaurants (Honolulu, Hawaii)
In 1988, Chuck Furuya became only the tenth person in the United States to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier examination. It was his passion to fully excel at wine service and education that led him on the path to certification as a Master Sommelier.
Furuya first began working in restaurants while attending college as a way to earn extra income. Chuck ended up managing some of Hawaii’s most highly regarded establishments including Bagwell’s 2424 in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, La Mer at the Halekulani and serving as Cellarmaster at the former Kahala Hilton.
Sharing a mutual passion for wine and food and a desire to create exceptional, quality dining at reasonable prices, restaurateur D.K. Kodama and Chuck Furuya began collaborating in 2003. Today, they have 8 restaurants together.
Educating people about wine and discovering new talent, however, is what brings him the most satisfaction. “I love finding new wines, especially great values. I love pairing wines with foods. But most of all I love teaching.”
Fred Dame M.S./Vice-President of Prestige Accounts at American Wine & Spirits/Chairman of the BOARD of GUILDSOMM
Frederick L. Dame, Master Sommelier brings an impressive blend of experience, expertise and enthusiasm to the world of wine and cuisine. He is the first American to have served as President of the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide and assists restaurateurs and hoteliers in developing their wine programs in his role as Vice-President of Prestige Accounts, American Wine & Spirits of California. He is currently the President of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. He holds Honorary Professorships at Purdue University and The University of South Carolina.
Dame's ability to transmit his passionate interest in wine make him a natural teacher. One of just seventy-three Americans to have passed the Master Sommelier Examination, Dame was the first to successfully pass all three parts in a single year. This feat and his high score won him the coveted Krug Cup of the British Guild of Sommeliers in 1984. Dame founded the American Branch of The Court of Master Sommeliers in 1986 and has played an active role in the expansion of the Master Sommelier program throughout America since that time.
MARK SHISHIDO, WINE DIRECTOR, ALAN WONG'S RESTAURANT
Mark Shishido has spent nearly 40 years in the local restaurant industry, and in September2016 he was inducted into the Hawaii Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame. The Wine Director for Alan Wong’s Restaurants, he joined Wong’s crew in 1998, serving as Restaurant Manager and General Manager before focusing his expertise on wine.
Shishido began his career as a Bar Porter at the Point After nightclub in 1977, then moved on to stints at various Waikiki hotels and restaurants where we worked in restaurant management. He was Assistant Wine Cellar Master at the Halekulani and Wine Cellar Master at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki and Prince Court Restaurant. In 1992, Shishido passed the Advanced Sommelier Certification for the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Nunzio Alioto MS, Former Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers
Nunzio Alioto is from an illustrious San Francisco restaurant family of the same name and grew up in the kitchens of some of the finest restaurants in the world. In 1987, he earned the title of Master Sommelier.
He has served as a board member of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, past Director of the California Restaurant Association, past President of the Fisherman's Wharf Merchant Association, and former Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is one of 118 persons to receive the coveted Antonin Careme Award given by the Chef's Association of the Pacific Coast. He has recently retired from successful management of Alioto's, a San Francisco landmark restaurant.
GREG HARRINGTON MS, FOUNDER AND WINEMAKER, GRAMERCY CELLARS
Greg Harrington is the founder of and winemaker for Gramercy Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington. His winemaking focuses on great Washington vineyards, minimalist intervention and balanced, earthy wines. At Gramercy, he focuses primarily on Rhone and Bordeaux varietals.
In 2008, Seattle Magazine named Greg “Best New Winemaker in Washington” and Gramercy “Best New Winery.” Food & Wine Magazine awarded Gramercy the “Best New Winery in America” in 2010. Wine & Spirits Magazine has named Gramercy to its “Top 100 Wineries in the World” list in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
In 1996 at the age of 26, Greg Harrington passed the Master Sommelier Exam, a title held by fewer than 130 people in the U.S. He currently serves as Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas.
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