How did you get into the industry?
I used to help my uncle in his restaurant during summer from the time I was in primary school until high-school. Those moments triggered me to pursue being a chef to put a smile on customers’ faces while enjoying their meals.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
This happened when I was in New York. A famous Hollywood star (to remain unnamed) came to the restaurant, asked for a photo with me and requested if she may photo-tag me in Facebook! I didn’t have a Facebook account at that time and bluntly rejected the offer. I since haven’t heard the end of the nagging from my acquaintances that I missed this golden opportunity.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The good part is I get to meet people from all walks of life (customers) at different places although I’m repeating the same scope routine every day. There isn’t any worst part as I recall, except for the long standing time during work.
What’s your favourite meal and drink at Sushi Azabu?
The omakase course and zaku miyabi no tomo (Japanese sake).
What’s one of the most outrageous things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
I was once tipped $999 US dollars (est. RM4,300) when I was in New York. The restaurant was often visited by famous designers and top level business personnel.
The perfect day off would be…
Exploring restaurants I’ve never been to and going ingredient hunting. I especially like finding places and things with strong local presence.
A day in the life of a chef is…
Regardless wherever I’m based (NY or Japan), I used to go to the biggest fish (wet) market weekly for fresh fish hunting and as typical and cliché it is, as a chef, I often catch up with suppliers and constantly search for better ingredients.
What do you do for fun?
Reading, strolling (while eating sometimes) and travelling.
What are some of your favourite restaurants in the area?
I enjoy Kenny Hills Bakers, Omakase + Appreciate and BABE in KL, and also The Sayan House in Bali.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
Personally, I really enjoy our in-house tuna nigiri sushi served with Sawaya Matsumoto (Japanese sake). I’m positive that Sushi Azabu carries the best tuna compared to the other restaurants in Malaysia. This confidence comes with the best supplier I’ve known and worked with for over 20 years since I was in NY. Tuna matches well with Jyunmai Ginjyo “Matsumoto” from Kyoto and this sake offers a lightly acidic taste.
What’s your view on the food scene in Kuala Lumpur?
I humbly believe that Malaysia (KL) has a very good growth potential compared to Japan now. This may sound unpleasing but with what Japan’s food/travel/entertainment scene has achieved, it is really far more developed than Malaysia. Hence, this also explains the excitement and anticipation I have, while strongly believing in the potential Malaysia has and looking forward to challenges in bringing up and improving along with the local market.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We’re looking to start catering to special requests and perhaps seasonally themed fairs like Hokkaido seafood special or Unagi special. I hope to bring in and introduce good food to our customers. Things may change accordingly to what best suits the demand and what our customer are looking forward to having from us.
Read about The Yum List’s experience in Sushi Azubu here.