Friday - April 18, 2008 Share Del.icio.us | Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com
Occupation: Sushi Chef, Roy’s Restaurant, Waikiki
Where were you born and raised? Hilo
First job in the industry?
A Japanese restaurant in Eugene, Ore. The chef there was really old school. He taught me traditional knife techniques that are becoming less and less common nowadays.
Where did you learn your sushi skills?
The sushi chef I learned from is named Tetsuya Ozaki. He’s a third-generation sushi professional from Osaka. I’ve learned many things from many people over the years, but I owe everything to Ozaki-san. He taught me how to use and maintain knives, how to roll sushi and handle fish. He taught me how to put my heart into my work. When I left him after five years, he gave me his sashimi knife, the knife that I saw him use every day while I was learning. It is a treasure to me. I use it every day, and I hope that I can live up to the honor.
What’s the one thing that most people don’t know about making perfect sushi?
I think that most people don’t realize the importance of the rice. If you have great fish and bad rice, you have bad sushi.
Where do you like to eat when you’re not at work?
I have a thing for Goma Tei’s ramen - Cha shu tan tan, extra choi sum. I eat there twice a week sometimes! I like Tsukuneya on University. Du Vin is good, too. Nice ambiance.
Favorite sushi spots?
I hardly go out for sushi, but I really enjoyed Yohei’s in Kalihi, and Mitch’s Sushi out by the airport.
What’s always in your fridge?
Steinlager and frozen tonkotsu ramen.
Beer, wine or sake with sushi?
I love beer with sushi. The bitterness acts like punctuation on the palate. Echigo is a great one. It’s brewed and bottled in Japan, which is becoming rare with “Japanese” beers, and it’s made with koshihikari rice, the same kind of rice that I use for my sushi. Sapporo Reserve is a fantastic all-malt Japanese beer that goes great with sushi. You can get it at Marukai or Don Quijote. My favorite, though, is Yebisu, another all-malt beer. Don Quijote just started carrying it, so I’m stoked.
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