Born in Tokyo to parents who ran a small restaurant, Ryota grew up sampling their fare. You may say he was “seasoned” early. He already has more than a decade of experience in New York restaurants, in both sushi and washoku. He went on to learn Kaiseki-style at Inagiku at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for five years. He is ready to make his parents proud and customers deliriously happy with his own style.
Photo © Naoka Ohashi
After a decade spent training in Japan’s culinary scene, Kaku moved to New York in January 2002 to embark on his new career at Inagiku at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. He became the executive chef at Inagiku while he served the luminaries such as prime minister of Japan, secretary-general of the United Nations, and other countless celebrities. Twenty years of experience taught him that the best spice for any dish is the spirit of hospitality.
Kaku is ready to make an attempt at his own restaurant Wasan to welcome his customers with the same spirit of hospitality.
Photo © Naoka Ohashi
He always liked the atmosphere at a restaurant: bustling scene where people are dressed up and are sharing a laugh or a conversation over great food. He started out as a busboy, then ran up the ladder quickly, as he was promoted to a runner, a waiter, a captain, a bartender, and a manager, while learning the business of running a restaurant. As he discovered his love for good wine and good sake, he started visiting wineries and sake breweries until in 2003, when he became a finalist at World Sake Competition in the New York region.
Koizumi holds sake seminars, sometimes using the Japanese manga characters from Moyashimon to explain the intricacies of sake. His seminars range from beginners to professionals, also for those in the restaurant business. He is known for his monthly Sake School, where his invitees include local sommeliers to master brewers from Japan. He contributes a column for Asian Food Journal. He also rekindled his love for wine, receiving certification from Sommelier Society of Wine in 2008 and became a member of American Wine Association in 2010.
In 2014, he has received “International Sake Sommelier”. There are only 326 people who hold this tile in the world (as of 04/01/2104).
Now all of his love is culminating at Wasan, his dream restaurant which opens with two great chefs. He will now find the best pairing of wine/sake and food for you.
Photo © Chopsticks NY