Chef DK Kodama of DK Restaurants - Biography

Honolulu, HI


Dave Kodama was born and raised on Oahu, a third generation Japanese-American who followed in his father’s footsteps and studied to become a civil engineer. In 1979, needing a break from his engineering studies at the University of Hawaii, Kodama moved to Seattle and began work as a bartender. He was immediately drawn to the convivial atmosphere and excitement of the restaurant business and ended up spending three years in Seattle, later moving to Aspen, Colorado, where he lived for a decade. During Aspen's off-season, Kodama traveled around the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean, learning all he could about food and refining his culinary skills.

Kodama returned to Hawaii and opened his first restaurant, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, in March 1996 at the Kapalua Resorts on Maui. His contemporary sushi and fusion seafood were an instant success, earning the restaurant numerous awards and accolades, including a prestigious 90 rating in Wine Spectator, the highest food rating in the 1998 and 1999 Zagat Hawai'i Restaurant Surveys, and numerous consecutive Honolulu magazine Hale 'Aina Awards.

Today, Kodama owns nine restaurants on three of the Hawaiian islands, including Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar and Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas, opened in partnership with Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya, as well as his most recent project, the casual eatery Cane & Taro in Kā‘anapali, Maui. He is also the author of D.K.'s Sushi Chronicles from Hawai'i published by Ten Speed Press in 2004.