Born in Gunma, a tranquil countryside town near Tokyo, I was raised amidst the serenity of mountains and rivers. As a child, the melodic whispers of the streams, the symphony of the birds, and the chorus of frogs became the soundtrack of my life. Reflecting back, I realise this communion with nature partly inspired my fascination with food and cooking. The sight of my mother preparing an array of meals for me at home always drew me in, kindling a desire to participate. In some way, cooking became my bridge to my surroundings and to those dear to me.
Carrying the spirit of that curious boy, I stepped into my professional journey at my uncle’s restaurant in Kanagawa at the age of 15, initially working as a dishwasher. Walking into a full-scale restaurant kitchen for the first time, I felt a mix of awe and excitement. It was at that moment, I started envisioning my future restaurant, considering its appearance and location.
Fueled by this dream, I set forth on my own path towards becoming a professional chef. I immersed myself in the delicate art of traditional Kappou cuisine, honing my skills at renowned establishments in Japan, including Ryugin. Along this journey, I challenged myself, learning intricate techniques such as processing hefty eels and filleting the delicious yet perilous puffer fish. Beyond mastering culinary skills, I also trained as a professional Sake sommelier. Armed with these refined skills, I eagerly explored what the world had to offer and contemplated ways to further enrich my life.
My professional path eventually led me to London, where I had the privilege of joining Umu, a Michelin-starred restaurant, as a Sous-chef. In recognition of my dedication and skills, I soon ascended to the role of Head Chef. Amidst my daily responsibilities, my childhood dream remained at the forefront of my thoughts. On my days off, I started my own venture at the Brick Lane Street Food Market, where I sold Japanese comfort food for nearly five years. My unyielding dedication and passion captured the attention of Umu's former executive chef, who guided me in finding the ideal location for my own restaurant.
The year 2017 marked the realisation of my lifelong dream. I opened HANNAH Japanese Restaurant. Though there were countless instances when I had to juggle the roles of a chef, a carpenter, a kitchen porter, and a waiter simultaneously, it was far from easy. However, the experience of building my dream restaurant from scratch, a vision I had as a 15-year-old boy, was both meaningful and fulfilling.
HANNAH embodies my entire essence.