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 at 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. (Visit www.dkrestaurants.com for more information). VINO, for instance, located at Honolulu’s Restaurant Row was recently featured in Travel & Leisure’s article “America’s Top 25 Wine Bars”.
A noted expert on pairing wines with Pacific Rim cuisine, Furuya created the pairings and wrote the wine introduction for the first Hawaii regional cuisine cookbook, The New Cuisine of Hawaii. He has worked at special events with virtually every celebrity chef in America; Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Nancy Oakes, Marcel Desaulniers, Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse, Ming Tsai, Norman van Aken, Rick Bayless, Nobu Matsuhisa, Douglas Rodriguez, Bobby Flay and Joachim Splichal, as well as with Hawaii’s own big names – Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong.
In addition, Chuck writes a monthly wine column for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and is also a regular contributor for New York based wine writer, Stephen Tanzer’s Winophilia.
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.”
To that end, Chuck conducts winetastings for the trade/professionals every week and is therefore on a different island weekly still teaching. As the former Chairman of Education for the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, he was nationally involved in wine education and certification.