Flash-grilled: Yasuda Akinori

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with Yasuda Akinori  head chef at recently-launched sushi restaurant Sumi in Notting Hill Endo Kazutoshi

Related tags: Sushi, Chef, Restaurant, London

The head chef at recently-launched sushi restaurant Sumi in Notting Hill on learning his craft from his father, getting his start in the industry, and his love of the seaside.

What was your first industry job?
I worked in a Japanese “Kaiseki” restaurant right at the bottom of the chain. I was just a supporting chef.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I would be a teacher of sport - I was in the national team for sprinting and also had qualifications in sports massage.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
I would say my father. He was a sushi chef and we had a restaurant in our house, so I grew up around him cooking and serving people and I have always admired his work ethic and his skill.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
The very long hours!

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence...
Kaiseki- traditional Japanese with a modern twist.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
A guest once said I was very imposing whilst I cooked and served them.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Temaki sushi from my father.

Favourite fast food joint?
Anywhere that serves chips and beer.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
My father. There were things he said to me when I was younger, when he was alive, that I didn’t understand. I understand what he means now and I would love to chat to him about it.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I once had a really severe asthma attack. I couldn’t breath and it was really frightening. 

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
The seaside or the pub. I grew up at the seaside, and I love the fresh air the calming atmosphere of being by the sea. I always like to go back there to relax.

What do you consider your signature dish?
Tuna sushi with a Zuke marinade.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Always think about the guest, they are your priority, nothing else.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Sashimi knife.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Steamed rice, nori and soy sauce - simple but delicious.

Related topics: Chef, Profiles

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