The idea is based on Japanese ekiben - takeaway meals that are sold on trains or station concourses.
Sato launched his first two Mission Sato pop-up shops in Old Street and Bermondsey earlier this month and believes there is a gap in the market for quality Japanese food to-go.
Now he is aiming to open ‘two or three’ production kitchens in the capital in the near future with the capacity to send out boxes across the capital.
“We’re working on creating vending machines and getting them installed in offices or selling the boxes on trains like they do in Japan,” he told BigHospitality.
“The way ekibens work is the food is usually made in kitchens and everything’s cooked and chilled before the boxes are made up cold. We’re exploring ideas at the moment and getting feedback.”
Sato was born in Japan and one of his first jobs was working in the production unit for a large sushi chain. The chefs would act as fishmongers and work through the night to prepare boxes to be sent out in the early morning.
“I want to replicate that whole process I saw in Japan,” he says. “It was mind blowing ‘fast food’ with the fish going from the ocean to the plate in 24 hours. I think I could do it here with the right people involved.”
The chef has cooked in some of the world’s most high-profile restaurants including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Tokyo’s Narisawa, (18
He admits that the bento box route may seem like an unusual first solo project but says he has struggled to open a standalone London restaurant for two years due to ‘stupidly expensive’ rents and premiums.
However, he still has plans to open a restaurant next year alongside growing the Mission Sato concept.
“I started the process of setting this up about four months ago and all the dots have connected, so we’re going to push this as far as it can go,” he says.