Despite a successful career as a fashion designer in Tokyo, with a sake sommelier certification in hand, Chizuko Niikawa-Helton embarked upon a life in sake in New York City. Working from the ground up, her aptitude for sales and popularity with customers helped her to become New York’s top female sake sommelier. In 2008, focused on developing independent sake events and sake sales techniques designed to make sake more fun, delicious and smart, she founded her own consulting company, Sake Discoveries, LLC. Focused on increasing sake fans nationwide, she consults with restaurants across the country to develop unique sake lists and staff training programs. She has served as a judge for the U.S. National Sake Appraisal and in 2012, was awarded the prestigious title of Sake Samurai by the Japan Sake Brewers Association.
- President, Sake Discoveres, LLC
- Certified Sake Sommelier, Sake Service Institute (SSI)
- Board Member, SSI International
- 2012 Sake Samurai, (Japan Sake Brewers Association)
*photo by Hirokazu Takayama