Roy Yamaguchi

PASADENA — Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) and culinary pioneer Roy Yamaguchi, founder of Roy’s Restaurant, will host an exclusive event featuring the cuisine of six stellar chefs on Thursday, Nov. 16, in Pasadena.

The gourmet experience will help support GFBNEC’s outreach and advocacy programs, which educate the public on the valor and sacrifice of Japanese American World War II veterans.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Roy’s Restaurant Pasadena, 641 E. Colorado Blvd. Tickets are $150 per person, including food, drink and gratuity. To buy tickets or for more information, call (310) 328-0907 or visit

The evening’s culinary stars will include:

• Chef Josiah Citrin: A veteran of Los Angeles’ gourmet dining scene with more than 25 years’ experience, Citrin is a Michelin two-star chef and owner of the acclaimed Melisse restaurant in Santa Monica (

• Chef Celestino Drago: Chef Celestino has played an integral role in the Los Angeles dining scene for more than two decades. Originally from Sicily, he is regarded as one of the pioneers of Italian cuisine in the U.S. He owns multiple dining locations in the Los Angeles area, including Celestino in Beverly Hills, Drago, Drago Bakery, Il Pastaoi, and Drago Centro.

Chef Akira Hirose: A longtime supporter of GFBNEC whose culinary talents were showcased at the 2017 Evening of Aloha, Chef Hirose gained a wealth of experience studying under world-famous Chef Joel Robuchon and at Ecole de Lenotre. After eight years in France, Chef Akira returned to Los Angeles to join the kitchen staff of L’Orangerie Restaurant. He later opened his own restaurant in Japan, Azay Le Rideau, which became one of that country’s Top 50 French Restaurants. In 1998, he opened Maison Akira ( in Pasadena, which is famed for its exquisite French- and Japanese-influenced cuisine.

• Chef Raphael Lunetta: A native of Southern California, Lunetta is recognized as one of the region’s most respected chefs. He grew up in a bicultural and bilingual family where cooking played an integral role in family life. In 2017, Lunetta partnered with hospitality veterans Daniel Weinstock and Mike Garrett of Divide + Conquer, Inc. to open Lunetta and Lunetta All Day in Santa Monica. Lunetta continues to craft what he is best known for — creating a warm, comfortable setting where simple, clean flavors and local ingredients take center stage.

• Chef Dave Woodall: Chef Woodall is a longtime journeyman chef, having spent time working at Melisse in Santa Monica. and Blair’s in Silver Lake. He is owner and chef of the Red Herring, a New American restaurant as they used to be 10 or 15 years ago. The farm-to-table concept focuses on local, seasonal ingredients as the backbone of a mid-Atlantic and Southern-inspired menu (

• Chef Roy Yamaguchi, Celebrity Guest of Honor: Culinary pioneer Yamaguchi was born in Tokyo. It was while visiting his grandparents on Maui that he had his first taste of seafood bought fresh at seaside piers — fond memories that would shape his future career. At 19, he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York as a master chef and moved to Los Angeles, where he served as executive chef at La Serene. After gaining invaluable experience in L.A., he decided it was time to head closer to his roots. He moved to Hawaii and opened the first Roy’s in 1988 (

Yamaguchi welcomed his fellow chefs to the upcoming event, and reflected on his longtime support of GFBNEC. “We’re proud to create innovative cuisine for this special event, which supports Go For Broke National Education Center,” he said. “Despite facing widespread discrimination, the Nisei veterans fought valiantly to ensure that all Americans have a place in our society. It’s a legacy to be proud of, and to pass on to future generations.”

“Chef Roy sits on GFBNEC’s Board of Directors and always donates his time and talent to help preserve the story of Japanese American veterans of World War II,” said GFBNEC Chairman Stephen Kagawa. “In addition to being an incredibly successful entrepreneur and iconic TV personality, Chef Roy is a longtime community leader who works tirelessly to help us promote the values of our Nisei veterans — honor, sacrifice, patriotism, equality.”

Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC’s president and chief executive officer, noted that Yamaguchi’s cuisine has been featured at the organization’s annual fundraising dinner, Evening of Aloha, for several years. “We invite guests to enjoy this event, which will bring together an amazing array of culinary talent,” Maki said. “Guests’ generous support will help us educate the public on our Nisei veterans’ contributions to our democracy, which are so relevant today as we debate public issues such as loyalty, due process and equality. We thank each of our outstanding chefs for their support, and look forward to a one-of-a-kind event.”

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