Age 40, chef and general manager, Tokkuri tei Restaurant.
Born: Kagawa, Japan; in Hawai'i 17 years.
Culinary background: "My father was a cake maker, and now he and my mother (a great cook) make udon in their shop in Japan. I studied law and supported myself working at Ginza Shiruhachi, famous for miso soup and fine Japanese cuisine. This is where I was exposed to fine food and learned how to cook. I was sent to Hawai'i to manage a branch and took over when the chef stopped coming to work. I worked for Kengo's Royal Buffet and learned how to deal with high-volume food, and started a lunch wagon and learned about local food. In 1989, Kazuhiro Mitake and I started Tokkuri tei on Sheridan Street; now we're on Kapahulu Avenue.
"My cooking style is based on Japanese cooking with some French ingredients and methods. For example: sauteed veal sweetbreads with teriyaki cream sauce served with sauteed shimeji mushrooms and grilled Tokyo negi topped with needle ginger."
Meal: Foie gras, truffle and caviar buffet!
Comfort food: "Boiled soybeans; they're better than potato chips."
Favorite cookbook: "Vegetables," by Charlie Trotter.
Favorite TV cooking show: "Great Chefs of America."
When I'm not cooking: "I like to play the piano and guitar, study diet and nutrition, and spend time with my wife (she's Italian) and two children."
When I'm really hungry: "I grab a Subway veggie delight."
If I could invite any three people to dinner: "I would invite Rozanjin Kitaoji (my mentor in Japanese cooking), George Auguste Escoffier and Dean Edell, M.D."
Dream job in the culinary world: "To open a spa with gourmet health foods to help improve people's physical and mental health."