"Trust Me," says the sign above Chef Takeshi Hosoda's head in Radio Cafe as he busily chops ginger for tonight's sushi orders.
You can trust the sign.
Hosada was raised in a suburb of Tokyo and moved to Phoenix because he needed a change of scenery. He says he chose Arizona because he didn't know much about the U.S. outside of Los Angeles and Miami, but really liked Western movies.
Hosoda describes his parents as organic food fanatics who didn't let him near soda or potato chips growing up. "Because of my parents, I have a very sensitive tongue and I am grateful... I can taste the freshness of ingredients, which makes a big difference."
Radio Cafe (formerly radioMILANO) found Hosoda as they were reopening with a new name and identity in late March. While Radio Cafe still serves many MILANO favorites, Hosoda brings sushi to the menu -- everything from California rolls with mango mayo to his own radio salmon rolls.
Chef Hosoda stops in with us to talk about his sushi philosophy, knife-sharpening habit and future food experiments.
Inspiration: I'm inspired by everything around me: music, movies, friends. In Japan, we have shokunin who are craftsmen and artisans who live by what they do. During the day, I can't not think about food, so it has become who I am. I could be waking up, driving, or talking with friends and a new food concept comes to my head ... inspiration is a constant for me.
Personal style: I love to use a variety of the best ingredients I can find. I specialize in Japanese cuisine and I make all the sushi here, which I really like doing. I think sushi is sexy and exotic when it's made with the right ingredients. So the goal of my food is to be exciting and experimental but also delicious and welcoming.
Kitchen Rules: The people I work with must be ready to work when they walk through the door and they have to be excited about our food. One of the biggest rules is that I don't allow the staff to waste product. In Japan, each fish is cut to use every part and I have the same mentality here.
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Social Media: I view social media tools in the same way as ingredients -- if we can, we should use every element. While I focus on geting the best ingredients and making the best food I can, this place is also a business that needs people to come and experience what we have. So we have to use Facebook, Twitter and other tools to reach people.
Advice: Picasso was not great in one day; to be great and successful, you must be passionate, patient and open-minded. Like I said, I am inspired by the people who surround me and by being open to their suggestions, I have the opportunity to be a better chef.
(This was part one of our interview with Chef Takeshi Hosoda of Radio Cafe. Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Hosoda tomorrow and a sushi recipe on Thursday.)