Do you think Londoners have a lot more to learn about sushi and Japanese cuisine?
It has improved drastically over the past 10 years, which is great as a chef because it means people’s appreciation for the food has only increased and it means we can enjoy producing a higher quality of sushi. There is still a large gap when you compare Japanese food in London to Japanese food in Japan, but I believe it doesn’t need to be the same, so long as we respect the philosophy and history behind it. Londoners too have an entirely different culture, season, produce and palate, so it wouldn’t be right if it was totally identical.
Can you tell us about the Dinings SW3 sushi masterclass and what people can expect if they attend?
I heard from a lot of guests that they really missed good sushi during lockdown, but it seems to be a widespread belief that sushi is too complicated to prepare at home. This isn’t entirely true, it can be simple and fun to prepare if you want it to be. Through my masterclass, people can learn the basic preparation of sushi rolls and even create some totally original rolls that can be added as part of their weekly repertoire of dishes.
What have learned from the Covid-19 crisis and working in lockdown?
The situation this year has given me the much needed opportunity to review myself and my work. Until then, I was busy every day and running around non-stop. I thought I knew what I was doing and what I wanted, but it turns out that I still had some things to figure out. Since then, the theme of my life and work are more focused on healthy, sustainable produce and simple cooking to make people smile.
Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work?
Mr Nobu Matsuhisa from Nobu. He is the one that lead me into this style of food. He introduced and set the standard of new Japanese cuisine outside of Japan, not only as a chef but as ambassador of our culture.
What ingredient can you not live without and why?
Fresh fish and seafood. It is truly fascinating in so many ways and I keep finding new things all the time.
Where is your favourite place to eat in London?
The River Café; a place I have loved for a long time. Its simple vibrant food and service are irresistible.
And where’s your favourite place in the world to eat?
Asador Etxebarri in Spain was just amazing. It’s located in a small village close to Bilbao, and all the ingredients are sourced locally or cooked on a grill. The location is also beautiful and the whole area makes you feel as though you are in the 18th century, it’s an unforgettable experience.
What do you like to do on a day off?
Sleep, read cookery books and ride my motorcycle.
Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?
I love watching all kind of creative works including architects, product design, arts, music and so on. I guess I love to try and understand the thought processes of all creatives, and to get an insight into how people come up with some many unforgettable concepts. It inspires me.
If you could invite anyone, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would it be and why?
A Japanese musician called Mr Ryuichi Sakamoto. I absolutely adore him. His work, his lifestyle and philosophy – he has influenced me since when I was child. I would love to serve my food to him and hear what he thinks!