Denise Hayashi Yamaguchi serves as the CEO and Founder of the Hawai‘i Ag & Culinary Alliance (dba, Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival) and the Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation (HAF).
Along with Co-Founders, chefs Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, Hayashi Yamaguchi was instrumental in the development, growth and vision for Hawaii Food & Wine Festival that has become a global brand in the luxury travel, food and beverage markets. As the premier epicurean event in the Pacific, the Festival boasts an alumni roster of more than 500+ global chef ambassadors, 300+ select winemaker and producers and 300+ top-tier mixologists. Organized to leverage its network celebrity chef talent, the Festival also puts a spotlight on Hawaii as a culinary destination, provides opportunities for burgeoning culinary talent, and addresses the need to support Hawaii’s agricultural industry.
As the founding Executive Director of HAF, she has overseen the development and growth of all of its programming, including their farmer assistance, education and outreach programs. HAF serves 25 small farmers on its HAF Ag Park in Kunia, more than 5,000 school children annually through its K-12 education programs in the public schools, and more than 1,700 local restaurants and businesses that buy local. Under her leadership, Localicious and Food-A-Go-Go have become the largest statewide “buy local” campaign in the State of Hawaii.
Hayashi Yamaguchi has more than twenty-four years of experience and has held executive positions with NCL America, Bishop Museum, Japanese Cultural Center, Hawai‘i Foodbank and U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s office in Washington D.C. She served as a board member of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority from 2014-2018, and currently serves on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, East West Center Foundation and Hawaii Foodbank.