What was your first industry job?
At my parent’s restaurant where I worked as a server, a kitchen porter and a commis. I was made to work there as I am their oldest son.
If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I would love to be a potter! I’m still dreaming about it.
What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Mr Nobu Matsuhisa. In my opinion he is the one chef who helped to ignite a deeper interest in Japanese cuisine outside of Japan. Before he arrived on the scene there were so many limitations in terms of the ingredients available outside of the country, as well as understanding of the cuisine in the Western world. Nobu found a way to combat this and as a result he has introduced Japanese cuisine to a wider audience.
Pet hate in the kitchen?
Whistling. This is something I can never, ever allow in my kitchen and include myself in that. In my training period in Japan this was one of the things we were strictly told not to do, but in Western kitchens it’s far more common and I can’t stand it.
What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
There was once a guy who came into a sushi restaurant and told me he would eat anything other than sushi
Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Japanese dishes combined with Western influences, presented in a seemingly uncomplicated but carefully constructed way. I like clean flavours, intricate textures and dishes that are bursting with colour, whilst also being a little playful.
Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A sharp knife and chopsticks.
What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
I would definitely choose good chicken stock-based ramen noodle.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
At Asador Etxebarri in the Basque Country. It was an exceptional experience from the food, to the service and the atmosphere. Perfection.
MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu – I get a lot of inspiration from there.
Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
A Japanese musician called Mr Ryuichi Sakamoto.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Steamed sweet rice with aduki beans like grandmother used to make. I miss it all the time.
Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram. I love how visually focused it is, it’s brilliant, and a great platform for showcasing the Dinings SW3 dishes. I get so much inspiration from here and find it incredibly relaxing to look at images of food, which is exactly what I need sometimes.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Make sure your passion is there. It’s an amazing job but extremely hard in a lot of ways, so you really have to love it.