My goal as a sushi chef is to help Japanese cuisine evolve as a whole and to develop and advance all over the world.
My philosophy as a chef is to keep my eyes on the horizon, and always strive to discover the next new concept.
My style is to create cuisine that is innovative, interesting and always on the cutting edge. I am always searching out the latest techniques and conjuring the freshest ideas. I love to observe the way all aspects of life harmonize together. In my eyes, Life is a balance of connecting all things great and small.
A good painting is a collection of well-placed colors. A car is just a list of parts ingeniously crafted to work together. A dish is more then just a grouping of ingredients for me, itfs a series of elements: Color, Aroma, Texture and Taste. A true artist can take these elements, and weave them into a beautiful expression of their own interpretation of life. Knowing how to combine specific ingredients together, how they will fuse or meld, then being able to create that feeling into a form, molded in ones hands that to me, is the true test of an artist.
I taught myself long ago that, if I create a dish from the heart, with passion, that everyone will enjoy the dish I create. However, the principality between what I want to create, and what my customersf want to eat often challenge me. I love to fashion dishes that engage the guestfs senses completely. I want my customers to experience the emotional and intellectual journey of taste, to fully surprise them and encourage them to explore Japanese food in new and unexpected ways. Another challenge is to utilize my own creative method and create dishes that stimulate the sixth sense. Mastering skills, such as mental visualization, used in the field of music, art, and fashion, help me to show how lateral thinking, free association, and brainstorming can be applied creatively in cuisine. All the while, bringing me great joy and all who experience!
It has been my experience that, wanting to be creative is not enough. Creative Freedom and Success are built on a foundation of technical knowledge, experience, a developed palate, excellent organization and many hours of hard work!
The hospitality business is all about relationships. All relationships thrive upon the nature of trust. Trust, in business, is hinged upon the skill of making all feel welcomed and richly provided for. Itfs also about respecting the different needs of every individual who comes to the restaurant and helping him or her feel personally satisfied.
Mikiko was born in Nayoro Hokkaido, Japan. In 1966 my family moved to Asahikawa, this is where I spent most of child hood. I have always thought myself to be very lucky growing up surrounded by great food. This is where I believe I developed my taste for fine foods. I had the opportunity to experience all that this rich land had to offer in excellent cuisine.
Ever since my childhood, I was always curious about what my Mother and Grandmother were cooking in the kitchen. They made mostly traditional Japanese cuisine. I helped prepare meals and observe every chance I could. My Father too, has a natural flare for cooking.
During my teenage years I became interested in all aspects of art from performing to figure drawing, even woodcarving stamps and any artistic out let. Speed skating was a main passion of mine. I later competed and won several medals.
After High School I traveled to the USA. Along the way of pursuing my dreams of attending Art School, chance led me to an opportunity in the Restaurant Business.
In 1982 I started out as waitress in Taiko Japanese Restaurant. I watched the sushi chef everyday. It was then I had a breakthrough, I wanted to become a sushi chef! I asked the chef if he could teach me how to become a Sushi chef. He said no. Women cannot become sushi chef because women wear makeup. Slightly disappointed I admitted that at that time I could not live with out my make up.
In 1983 I began work at Hime Japanese Restaurant, a very traditional Japanese sushi restaurant. Here I learned the basics of floor operation, and staff training along with customer service. In my twelve years of employment, I was a manager and quality overseer.
In 1997 I transferred my skills as a manager to Sushi Chardonnay. Soon after, I was approached about becoming a sushi chef. As I thought back to the time I was denied, I accepted the opportunity right away. Times have changed! It was this time of my life I cherish the most. I had the great privilege to learn from many excellent teachers. Through incorporating many distinct styles, I eventually honed my own unique style of sushi.
One chef that was my mentor and helped me the most was sushi chef, Yukio. He graduated from the Academy of Art and made sushi for a living. To him, making sushi on a dish was not much different from painting on a great canvas. Yukio inspired me to really focus on sushi as an art. This is something I hold as a core value in my sushi making philosophy
In 2005 I began and I am currently working at Yuzu in San Francisco, California. I am the Head Sushi Chef, a floor manager, staff trainer and I also teach Sushi workshops.
I love every moment of training and inspiring new chefs around me. I am able now to give back by helping new chefs discover and feel the love I feel for Japanese Sushi/ Cuisine. Now they can unlock the great chef inside themselves like I found in myself.
2009 I look forward to meeting new challenges and whatever life offers. I am always ready to pull up my sleeves and work hard!