Shosui Takeda – Master Blacksmith and Owner of Takeda Knives

We had the honor of sitting down with Shosui Takeda, the owner of Takeda Knives. Takedas’ blue steel knives are highly regarded for their craftsmanship, long lasting sharpness and overall superior performance.

How long have you been making knives and how did you start?

Because my father was also a blacksmith, I started helping out around the workshop when I was an elementary school student. At that time, my goal was to earn some allowance money to go bowling. Honestly though, it was never my intention to follow in my father’s footsteps and I didn’t start truly working as a blacksmith until I was 28.

How has your knife making progressed over the years?

The reason I started to make knives with a very thin blade was because of some comments from a long time customer. He told me “your knives hold a great edge, but the blade is too thick for cutting thick root vegetables like daikon without breaking the vegetable. Can you make your blades thinner?”. These comments twenty years ago changed my approach to knife making. Even after twenty six years of knife making, I still don’t know what the perfect knife is and all I can do is my absolute best every time. I still haven’t produced a knife that I’m one hundred percent happy with.

What are the traits of a good knife to you?

There are so many factors that make a great knife. To name a few: great cutting feel which lasts over time, easy to use, doesn’t chip or get damaged easily, can use for many years, difficult to rust, easy to sharpen. Also, I want our knives to cost the same as what you’d invest in a special pair of shoes. I could go on and on, but these are the basic things I think about every day when I’m in the workshop making knives.

 

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Why do you choose to use Aogami Super Blue Steel? What makes it so special?

As far as the Aogami Super, all of our customers would only choose Aogami Super after using that knife. They say that they just can’t go back to other types of steel. About twenty years ago when we first started using Aogami Super, our main material was Blue Steel #1. Even though those knives held a great edge and were half the price, customers were choosing the Aogami Super. It’s that simple. From a craftsmanship perspective, when I first forged with Aogami Super, it was obvious that is a very very difficult material to work with. Even at this point, it is much harder than using a steel which is just one rank down. I do end up with a higher percentage of failed blades than I would working with other types of steel, but I feel it’s worth it for the end result.

You use a rosewood handle on your knives instead of magnolia. What are the benefits?

Rosewood is much tougher than magnolia. Repairing knives is an important part of what we do and we get knives back that have been used for twenty years. We can see that the rosewood lasts well over time even in professional kitchens. Shapewise, I do feel that the octagonal shape is the most comfortable and can be used by anyone. There are all kinds of different designs out there, but I believe the octagonal handles are the best.

Which of your knives are popular (overseas and Japan) and do you have any plans for new models in the future?

We’ve never once had our own idea of ‘producing a new model’. The reason our knife collection grows over time is all based on customer requests and feedback. We make changes to our knives little by little over time based on these comments.

What is your philosophy towards craftsmanship?

Something that I’ve discovered recently is a true craftsman is a person who doesn’t think in a sales related way. For example, if you think of all the different processes available for knife making, you see there are many ways to make knives that are profitable and easy to sell. You can make knives with press cutters or lasers, use layered steel or have a polished blade. These processes don’t require as much work. But when you have to make a decision on which process to use, a true craftsman chooses the method which creates the best knife for the user. Even if this process means more work to make and sell the knife, this is the path I will always choose. My goal is to pursue the best quality no matter what.

What is the process of forging a knife?

We start out by ordering a type of Aogami Super Blue steel called ‘fukugokouzai’. This combines carbon steel and a soft carbon blend. I feel this is the best quality material to start with.

Next, we cut the materials into the shape of each knife and weld the ‘nakago’ (tang) to each blade. We use a stain resistant steel for the nakago, so there won’t be any corrosion inside the handle of the knife. After welding these two pieces together, I use a hand grinder to smooth the joint between the nakago and body of the knife. Each knife then goes through a multiple-step forging and heat treatment process.

We then reshape each knife with a grinder and use a belt sander to smooth the edges step by step. At this point, we double check the joint between the nakago and the body of the knife. If there is even a slight imperfection, we re-weld and regrind the joint until it’s perfect.

We put a starter edge on to each knife and clean the surface of each blade with a wire brush. The knife is now ready for ‘yaki-ire’, a very important three day heating and cooling process.

To prep each knife for yaki-ire, we coat the blade with a powder made of natural sharpening stones and pine charcoal.  In my furnace, I heat lead to 820 degrees Celsius and put each knife one by one into the furnace until it glows the appropriate ‘red’. Once the color is just right, I plunge the knife into an oil bath to cool it and clean it with a wire brush to remove any powder residue.

I have a tub with hot oil, set to 150 degrees Celsius, which each knife goes into after the ‘yaki-ire’ process. At the end of the day, the tub holds all of the knives I’ve worked on. I then heat the oil to 170 degrees Celsius and keep it at that temperature for forty minutes. I let the knives cool and sit in the tub overnight.

The next morning I heat the oil to 170 degrees again and keep it at that temperature for forty minutes. The knives sit in the tub for another twenty four hours. Lastly, I heat the oil to 150 degrees, take out each knife one by one and clean it with wood shavings.

After ‘yaki-ire’, I make sure each knife blade is completely straight.

Next is the edge crafting process. I start out using a ‘san-shaku’ rough grit sharpening wheel and then move onto a flat rotation medium grit sharpening wheel. The final process is to sharpen each knife by hand on a series of sharpening stones and coat with an anti-rusting material.

Lastly, we need to attach the handle. We insert epoxy into each handle and insert the blade, adjusting to the correct angle. The knife is now ready to be boxed up and leave our workshop!

Knife Types and Uses

In this section, we’ve provided a run down of the different types of Japanese knives and their specific uses.

 

Gyutou

Gyutou / Chef’s Knife

Gyutou are the Japanese equivalent of a European chef’s knife. They are ideal as an all purpose knife in the kitchen and can be used for most tasks. Japanese Gyutou are typically lighter and thinner than a European knife, are made out of a harder steel and hold a better edge as a result. The word Gyutou in Japanese means ‘beef knife’.

Shop all Gyutou Knives

 

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Santoku /  Multipurpose

Santoku, meaning ‘three virtues’ in Japanese, is an all purpose knife with a taller blade profile than a Gyutou. Its three virtues are the knife’s ability to cut fish, meat and vegetables.  Santoku have a flatter ‘belly’ than Gyutou and are used with an up and down chopping motion rather than a ‘rocking’ type cut.

Shop all Santoku Knives

 

Sujihiki

Sujihiki / Slicer

Sujihiki Knives are the equivalent to a European slicer with a few differences. The difference is the blade is typically thinner and made out of a harder steel, allowing for better edge retention. Additionally, the bevel on the blade is at a steeper angle, allowing for a more precise cut. Sujihiki can be used for filleting, carving and also as an all purpose knife.

Shop all Sujihiki Knives

 

petty

Petty / Paring

Petty knives are small utility or paring knives that are ideal for small, delicate work that a chef’s knife can’t handle.

Shop all Petty Knives

 

Honesuki

Honesuki / Boning

A Honesuki is a Japanese boning knife and differs from a Western boning knife in its triangular shape and the fact that it is stiff with very little flex. The honesuki works very well for deboning poultry and typically has an asymmetrical edge. Due to its shape and height, the honesuki can also double up nicely as a utility or petty style of knife.

Shop all Honesuki Knives

 

hankotsu

Hankotsu / Boning

A Hankotsu is a Japanese boning knife and differs from a Western boning knife in its shape. It is a thick spined, durable knife and does not have the ‘flex’ of a Western boning knife. Originally, it was designed to debone hanging meats but can also be used as a petty or utility knife.

Shop all Hankotsu Knives

 

Nakiri

Nakiri / Vegetable Knife

Nakiri knives are the double edged Western style equivalent of a one sided Japanese usuba knife.  With their straight blade, they are ideal for cutting vegetables.

Shop all Nakiri Knives

 

yodeba

Yo-deba / Butchery

Yo-deba knives are heavy, durable knives with a thick spine, which are used for fish and meat butchery.

Shop all Yo-deba Knives

 

Yanagi

Yanagi / Slicer

Yanagi are single edged traditional Japanese knives. They are used in a long drawing motion to cut precise slices of sushi, sashimi and crudo and their single edge means they get incredibly sharp.

Shop all Yanagi Knives

 

takobiki

Takobiki / Slicer

Takobiki are a variation of yanagis and originated in the Kanto (Tokyo) area of Japan. They are single edged allowing for an incredibly sharp edge and are used for slicing sushi, sashimi and crudo.

Shop all Takobiki Knives

 

deba

Deba / Butchery

Deba are traditional single bevel Japanese knives with a thick spine and a lot of weight. They are used for fish butchery, filleting and can also be used on poultry.

Shop all Deba Knives

 

usuba

Usuba / Vegetable Knife

The Usuba is a traditional Japanese vegetable knife with a single edge. Due to its single edge, it gets incredibly sharp and can be used for precise vegetable work. The Kamagata Usuba, which has a curved tip, is a regional variation from Osaka of the square tipped Usuba.

Shop all Usuba Knives

 

kiritsuke

Kiritsuke / Slicer

The Kiritsuke is a traditional Japanese knife with an angled tip that can be used as either a sashimi knife or as an all-purpose knife. In restaurant kitchens in Japan, this knife is traditionally used by the Executive Chef only and cannot be used by other cooks.

Shop all Kiritsuke Knives

 

pankiri

Pankiri / Bread Knife

Pankiri are designed and used for slicing bread. The ridged teeth are designed specifically for this purpose.

Shop all Pankiri Knives

Knife Crafting II – Edge Crafting & Handling

Chubo is excited to take you inside the workshops of knife craftsman in Sakai, Japan, who are still making knives completely by hand. Each knife is forged and crafted in the tradition of generations of Japanese blacksmiths. This is the second part of a two part series on the forging of these traditional knives.

Edge Crafting

After completing the forging, hammering, shaping and tempering, each blade is ready to have its edge crafted. This is done by hand on a series of sharpening wheels, starting from rough grit, moving to medium grit and then on to fine grit. Each blade is then sharpened by hand on natural fine grit sharpening stones to refine and hone the edge and bring it to its desired sharpness. This is a delicate process that takes years to master.

 

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Knives are stored in anti-rusting liquid before the edge crafting process.

 

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Master Sharpener Oda checks the wheel for flatness.

 

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Master Sharpener Oda puts the final sharpening touches on a deba knife.

Handling

The final step in the knife making process is attaching the handle. The handles on traditional knives are made out of high grade Japanese magnolia, a hardwood, that is light, difficult to crack and resistant to water. Each handle is cut to size depending on the knife and is bolster fitted with water buffalo horn. The last step is to heat the tang of the knife and insert and hammer into the handle.

 

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The craftsman cuts the magnolia handles to size.

 

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Each handle is fitted with a piece of water buffalo horn.

 

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The handle is attached to the knife and it is now ready to be used.

 

 

 

 

 

Knife Crafting I – Blade Forging and Yaki-ire

Chubo is excited to take you inside the workshops of knife craftsman in Sakai, Japan, who are still making knives completely by hand. Each knife is forged and crafted in the tradition of generations of Japanese blacksmiths. This is the first of a two part series on the forging of these traditional knives.

Forging the Blade

Traditional Japanese knives, such as yanagi, usuba and deba are handmade in a multi-step process by several craftsmen over a period of several days. The first step in the process is forging the blade. A piece of soft iron is joined to a piece of carbon steel and the blade is repeatedly forged, hammered and shaped. The high carbon steel will become the blade’s edge and the soft iron becomes the body and spine of the knife. Using the soft iron for the body and spine reduces brittleness and makes sharpening the knife easier for users.

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Craftsman Doi is joining the soft iron and carbon steel in preparation for hammering, forging and shaping the blade.

 

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Craftsman Doi hand-shaping the blade gradually into its desired shape as an usuba knife.

 

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It is essential to brush the blade with a wire brush during the forging and shaping to keep the blade dust free.

 

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Craftsman Doi shaping an usuba knife.

 

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Many of the tools used in the shaping, hammering  and forging process have not changed for centuries.

 

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Even with the most skilled blacksmiths, there are certain blades that don’t make the cut. These are discarded and recycled.

 

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After each blade has been forged, shaped and cooled, it is hammered to further shape and strengthen the blade.

 

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Further hammering and shaping

Yaki-Ire

After the hammering and forging, the blades are readied for the ‘yaki’ phase. The purpose of this process is to harden each blade to enable it to take on an edge.  To prepare for yaki-ire, the furnace must be heated to precisely 720 degrees. This is judged and regulated completely by eye, based on the shade of red of the glowing coals.

To prepare for yaki-ire, each knife is coated with clay to ensure even heating.  Each blade is heated, tempered and quenched in water to complete the process. The process of yaki-ire is extremely difficult and takes many years for blacksmiths to master. Even master blacksmiths with decades of experience do not forge every blade perfectly and only a percentage of these blades make it to market.

 

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Usuba blades are covered in clay in preparation for ‘yaki-ire’

 

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After removing the knife from the furnace, it is plunged in water to complete the ‘yaki-ire’ process.

Adriano Ricco – Executive Chef – STK New York

For this interview, we had a chance to sit down with Chef Adriano Ricco, Executive Chef at STK in New York City.  Chef Adriano shared his thoughts with us on the challenges of professional cooking, his Brazilian background and why he loves Japanese craftsmanship.

How did you get into cooking initially? What was your path into the kitchen?

I started flirting with the kitchen when I was still a little kid in Brazil. Both of my parents are enthusiasts when it comes to cooking and my great grandpa was a chef himself, so it was in the family. From there on, it was just a natural transition.

I did try out for a few different things before I ended up in the kitchen, but it was all somehow tied up together and that’s pretty much how I started. So, little by little, by doing lunches and dinners for friends here and there. People liked it so we came up with a catering company in Brazil and we set that up and were very successful with that. Then from there I decided to open up a physical location. It was a great learning experience, but I wasn’t ready. But the failure was a good thing, because it taught me what needed to be done. So I went back to square one and I just decided that I had to work for some high caliber chefs before I could have my own place. I started working for Alex Atala. His restaurant D.O.M. is now ranked fourth in the world, so that’s pretty big. I had the privilege and pleasure of working next to him and learning the culinary arts to the point that I became one of his sous chefs. And, from there on it was a natural progression. I worked for Laurent Tourondel, Terrance Brennan and a few others and then progressed to STK.

How would you describe your culinary style and how has it evolved over the years?

I would say it’s contemporary cuisine although I don’t like labels that much. It’s modern American, contemporary American and then if you stop to think of what American cuisine is all about it’s a big melting pot of races and ethnicities, so I think contemporary cuisine would be the best way to label my style and what I do.

 

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Who was a mentor for you?

Alex Atala has always inspired me and when I was younger I would always see him in magazines. He was rated the best chef in Brazil for 10 years. I thought that if one day I could work for this guy it would be the highlight of my career. It’s funny to look back to see how things go. It was the highest bar for me because he meant so much and because he also contributed so much to Brazil in terms of gastronomy and the culinary movement.

What Ferran Adria did for Spanish cuisine, Alex Atala did for our country. He has really put Brazil in the culinary spotlight. It was really a dream come true to work for him. I walked into his kitchen and asked ‘what do I need to do to work here?’ He told me that I would need to start as an intern and there was a long line of people but to email him. I emailed him and the next week I was working there.

It was a natural progression from that point on and I think that the biggest thing he taught me is to respect the integrity of the ingredients that we use. And just apply the correct techniques and it’s really about how passionate you are and how much passion you’re going to put into what you do. And that passion will translate into the high quality of the dishes you present to guests. Despite of all the challenges we have in the kitchen, and there are many, it is really rewarding when we put something together and you get an instant feedback, hopefully positive feedback. It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

What is your favorite ingredient in the kitchen?

I don’t know if I can pinpoint just one ingredient. They are all so important. I do believe the care and respect you have for the things you utilize in your dishes is what is going to set you for success. I do believe that everything starts with the basics. I couldn’t live without my veal bones, my aromatics and my mirepoix, which are the base of everything that we do in the kitchen. It starts with the scratch ingredients that you use – the aromatics, vegetables, bones as base for sauces. Most importantly, I would say I love all ingredients. They are all equally important and should be accorded the same respect.

What is your philosophy towards hospitality and to your guests?

The name says everything – it’s about being hospitable and catering to your guests every day. I remember that when I was being brought up, I had a different perspective of how to treat guests. I guess that was the universal mentality that chefs had back in the day which was they had to set the pace and course of a meal and would pretty much tell guests what they should or should not eat as we still do, but in a different way. I believe that has to do with the information superhighway that exists now. With a click of a button everybody knows exactly what food exists on the planet. I guess the lack of knowledge back then really empowered who had the most knowledge, which was us chefs. These days it is more driven by guests’ knowledge and expectations.

 

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What’s your favorite kitchen tool?

I couldn’t live without my knives.

I have to admit that I’m a little biased when it comes to that, because I am a big fan of Japanese art and culture, and martial arts have played a big role in my life. I’ve trained in karate for two decades and I was always fascinated by the discipline, respect and beauty of Japanese culture. And that translates to the knives. The care and attention to detail that’s given is just second to none.  It’s an art that has been perfected over 1000 years since the samurai were around and there was nothing sharper than the blade of a samurai sword which makes me a strong believer that there is there nothing sharper than a Japanese blade. And that’s the only thing that I’ll ever touch and I’ll ever use in my kitchen. I did not start with them – as much as I wanted to get my hands on one, it was kind of a prized item in Brazil. Although it’s a paradox because there is a large Japanese community in Brazil, but you do not find Japanese knives readily available. I got more exposed to Japanese knives when I came to the U.S. It was something that I was already very passionate about, as far as the Japanese martial arts and when I found out more about the knives it was just natural that I would choose only Japanese knives to work with and I wouldn’t trust anything else.

Do you have a brand or two that you’re into now?

I’m a big fan of Nenohi – that’s one of my favorite brands. Also, one of my favorite knives was a Masahiro which I really admire; they’re great knives. But, there are so many great craftsmen out there and now that I know more I’m starting to go for more of the artisan knives. The ones that are singular in style that nobody else has.

Marcus Ware – Executive Chef, Aureole, New York

Chef Marcus Ware sat down with us to chat about his cooking background, what hospitality means to him and some of his favorite kitchen tools. Chef Marcus is the Executive Chef at Aureole in New York City, Charlie Palmer’s Michelin starred fine dining restaurant.

How did you get into cooking initially?

I started cooking when I was about 14 years old. It was a weekend job cleaning in the cellars of a pub. One day the dishwasher didn’t show up and they asked me if I could wash the dishes at night. So I washed the dishes at night and got sort of introduced to the kitchen. One night led to two nights led to three nights and I sort of started coming back on my own time. Just being fascinated with what was going on in the kitchen.  The chef took me under his wing and that was it. So, as soon as I could leave school at 16, I did and started an apprenticeship at the Savoy Hotel in London. That was my baptism by fire, sort of in at the deep end.

How would you describe your culinary style and how has it evolved over the years?

I think it’s changed a lot. I’ve been exposed to a lot of different cultural influences in NY that I wasn’t in England. I started with a very solid French culinary background which is where my skill set and base were and still is. I’ve definitely absorbed a lot of Asian influences from being in New York. A lot of Japanese influences and influences using Asian ingredients. My food, I think, has become more American. America is a country I see as being very much multicultural with a lot of influences from different cultures. My food definitely reflects that.

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Do you have a mentor or chef who particularly inspired you?

I think a lot of the chefs who I worked for inspired me to work harder, to make myself better. If I had to pick one, it’s very hard. Philip Howard is one of the chefs I worked for who was really an amazing chef and I learned a lot from. And, as far as people who I really look up in the industry I would say Thomas Keller. Just being at the top of your industry for a long long period of time is something which is very hard to do. Consistency is the hardest thing in this industry and to consistently be one of the best is a great achievement.

What is the most important ingredient for success in professional cooking?

Self discipline. Self discipline not just in what you do, but in every single aspect and how you work….cleanliness, being disciplined in being clean and organized, being disciplined when you make something and it doesn’t quite turn out right. Being disciplined enough to say no, as much hard work and effort you put into it, you have to say no it’s not good enough and start again. I think self discipline on a lot of different levels and a lot of different aspects is the most important thing.

What’s your philosophy towards hospitality?

When you work in the industry for a long time, some of it gets lost as far as how much of it you are doing it for your customers. At the end of the day, you really have to treat customers like they are a guest in your own home. If you do treat them that way, then most of the time you’ll be successful. I think that some of that does get lost. It’s hard to maintain it.

What’s one kitchen tool you couldn’t live without?

A sharp knife. If you don’t have a sharp knife, you can’t do anything.

What are your thoughts on Japanese knives?

I started out my career very French influenced using Sabatier and Henckels. Halfway through my career, I was introduced to Japanese knives. Now all of my knives are Japanese knives. They have a certain feel to them, and they cut a certain way. I’m definitely a big fan of Japanese knives; that’s pretty much all I use now.

Do you have a particular knife in your knife kit that you tend to go to more often than others?

I love using my Nenox knives. They are by far the most expensive knives I have, but they are the nicest to use. And the Glestain as well. I’ve had a Glestain chef’s knife which I bought 7 years ago. I still have the same one and it’s standing up well. It’ s passed the test of time.

What is an ingredient you started using recently or one that really excites you?

I’ve been exposed to more Asian influences and Asian ingredients and I’m still exploring some of them. I think one of my favorites is yuzu.  I love using that. It’s very subtle and it’s very very mellow but it takes using it in the right applications. It’s become a very popular citrus, but I’d say it was one of my favorite ingredients. I’ve also become a very big fan of some of the Japanese seafood…uni for example. We get it from two or three different places. Sometimes we get it from the West Coast, sometimes we get it from Japan. I buy fresh uni which is untreated and just taken out of the shell. The saltiness of the sea water keeps it nice and fresh and you can really tell the difference when you eat it.

Chris Greway – Executive Chef, Morimoto, Philadelphia

We sat down with Chef Chris Greway, Executive Chef at Morimoto Philadelphia to talk about his cooking background and what it takes to make it in a professional kitchen.

How did you get into cooking initially?

My father owned a specialty food shop when I was growing up. I just kind of fell into it, wasn’t really good at school and so found something I was really good at. I started out in the meat department; my father was a butcher. I learned from a bunch of old school guys how to butcher meat and chickens and doing that 8-10 hours a day. This was outside of Philly, in Bucks County. He used to have a store on South Street, the name of his store was Gerard’s and he had five stores at one time in the late ‘80’s.  So it was a good business and I found something that I was good at and loved to do so I went to the C.I.A.

After the CIA, were there other places you worked before coming to Morimoto?

After the CIA, I landed a job at the Gotham Bar & Grill, the day after my graduation, with Alfred Portale. That was quite a learning experience. I spent two years there. Also, I worked with Rocco DiSpirito briefly and opened Café Boulud with Daniel Boulud.  This was in 1998, with Alex Lee, Daniel Boulud and Andrew Carmellini came later. It was a great time and I was there when we got the initial three star review in the New York Times, so that was great. And then I went on and worked with Bill Telepan and we got three stars there. Very high volume,  lots of power lunches and catering and did the whole farm to table thing, doing that before it was trendy.

How would you describe your culinary style and how has it evolved over the years?

My style has evolved a lot here at Morimoto, since I haven’t had a lot of Asian influence up to date. Before it was a lot of French, Italian, new American, but it always starts with the ingredients. Fortunately, here at Morimoto we are able to get our hands on the best ingredients in the world. Wagyu beef, bluefin tuna, imported fish from Japan, you name it. Just having the best quality ingredients and letting them shine and treat them minimally with seasonal touches. I would say the style is East meets West.

Who was a mentor for you?

I would say that it’s been evolving and cumulative, since Alfred Portale and Bill Telepan. Even Rocco Dispirito a little bit. Every chef  I’ve worked under, I take a little bit from. Whether it’s technique or recipe, I just incorporate them all together and polish them up, dust them off and make them my own. So there is no one person, but if there was one person, I would say I really admire Alfred Portale for what he has done over the course of his career and is still doing. Gotham Bar & Grill is still relevant after 25-30 years.

What do you think the most important ingredient is for success in professional cooking?

It’s easy – you’ve got to be dedicated and willing to work the hours nobody else wants to work and go above and beyond. And you also have to be a great self-promoter if you really want to reach the top.

What do you look for in new hires?

I look for them to be very interested in what’s going on, to have a certain quickness about them in the kitchen, a natural ability if you will. I don’t look for them to necessarily have a culinary degree or anything like that, but just a good aptitude for working in kitchens and working with the ingredients and working clean.

What’s one or two kitchen tools that you couldn’t live without?

The good old fish spatula is one that I couldn’t live without as well as a good knife. You can do a lot of things with those.

What are your thoughts on Japanese knives?

I used German knives in culinary school and at Gotham Bar & Grill. Wustofs and those kinds of things.  I got hooked in the late 90’s when I got my first Masamoto carbon knife. I keep sharpening it up and still use it. Yeah, it’s more of like a honesuki now after all these years, but it’s still a good knife.

Do you have a go-to knife in your kit?

I use my Glestain slicer a lot.

What’s an ingredient that you’ve used recently or one that inspires you?

There are so many great ingredients, but I feel like a little bit of citrus in everything makes a dish really pop. You can always incorporate it – it doesn’t always have to be the star, it can be underlying, but a little burst of acidity makes all the flavors marry..yuzu, lemon, lime, I like to mix all of them.

What is your philosophy towards hospitality?

Basically treat the guests with respect and give them great food and great service and hopefully they’ll come back and return the favor.