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Born in Gunma, a small countryside town close to Tokyo, i grew up in a house that was surrounded by mountains and rivers. When I was little, I would always listened to the sound of the streams, the birds and the frogs. Looking back, I would say that growing up with that connection to the environment and nature is partly what inspired my interest in food and cooking. I was always tempted to join his mom when watching her cooking at home, preparing all different kinds of dishes for him. Somehow cooking was always a way for me to feel connected with my surroundings and those close to me.


Later on, with that same heart of that little boy, I started out at my uncle’s restaurant in Kanagawa at 15, cleaning dishes. It was a strange yet wonderful feeling entering that kitchen of a proper restaurant, for real for the first time of my life. And it was that exact moment where I began to wonder what my own restaurant would look like one day, and where it would be.


With that dream held in my mind, I then embarked on my own journey of becoming a professional chef. I trained for years, learning the fine art of traditional Kappou cuisine, at places in Japan like Ryugin Nihonryori. I pushed myself striving for more and better skills on the way, such as learning how to process eels that’s over 1kg size, and even how to fillet the dangerous yet tasty puffer fish. Along the way, except for learning how to be a good chef, I also became a professional Sake and Wine sommelier. Equipped myself with such fine techniques and skills, I kept looking for what’s out there in the world and thinking how to achieve more in my life.


My journey eventually took me to London, where I worked as a Sous-chef at Umu. It wasn’t long before I was promoted to the Head Chef. Not a day has gone by without thinking about my childhood dream. On my day-offs, I started my own business at the Brick Lane Street Food Market, selling Japanese comfort food for about five years. I passion and dedication moved Umu’s former executive chef, who helped me find the perfect location for my own restaurant.


2017 is where my lifelong dream came true. I opened Hannah Japanese Restaurant. Even though there might have been thousands of times where I felt like I had to be a chef, a carpenter, a kitchen porter and a waiter at the same time, which wasn’t easy, I did built the restaurant from scratch that I had dreamed about as a 15-year-old boy, and it means something, and everything.

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Daisuke Shimoyama

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