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Roy Yamaguchi is a Japanese-American celebrity chef, restaurateur and one of the founding members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement. He is the first chef from Hawaii to have been honored with the prestigious James Beard “Best Pacific Northwest Chef” Award in 1993. He is the owner and founder of Roy’s Restaurants, Roy’s Beach House, Eating House 1849, and Humble Market Kitchin.
He has earned numerous honors including California Chef of the Year (California Restaurant Writers Association) Gault-Millau Top 40 (Forbes FYI), Top 50 Cuisines in America (Conde Nast Traveler), Fine Dining Hall of Fame (Nation’s Restaurant News) and the John Heckathorn Dining Excellence Award (Honolulu Magazine).
Yamaguchi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York in 1976, he accepted numerous positions at some of the most prestigious California restaurants at the time: L'Escoffier, L'Ermitage, Le Serene, Michael’s, and Le Gourmet in the Sheraton Plaza La Reina. In 1984, Yamaguchi opened his first restaurant, 385 North, in Hollywood and in 1988, he moved to Honolulu to open the first Roy’s Restaurant.
Yamaguchi is also known as a television personality, hosting six seasons of the PBS series, Hawaii Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi. He was featured on the Food Network’s My Country, My Kitchen which took him back to his roots in Japan. Yamaguchi also competed on the first season of Bravo Channel’s Top Chef Masters and appeared as Iron Chef Asian, in the first American incarnation of Iron Chef USA.
Yamaguchi recently partnered with Swiss-based MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company. He will introduce Asian Market Kitchen, a specialty pan-Asian restaurant on board the cruise line’s new next-generation ship, MSC Seaside – starting service in December 2017 and sailing year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.