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Watch LA Chef Kuniko Yagi Talk About Breaking Barriers in Tokyo

The classically trained chef heads up the kitchen at LA's Hinoki & the Bird.

Here's LA-based chef Kuniko Yagi (Hinoki & the Bird) discussing her time as an entry-level cook and intern in Japan. She talks about how the kitchens in Tokyo and Kyoto were "almost like temples" — they were silent with no pots and pans banging around. At one place, she was the first woman in the restaurant's 55-year-history to wear a chef's coat in the kitchen.

When Yagi hired her staff at Hinoki & the Bird, so many of the resumes she received were from women that 70 percent of the kitchen staff is now made up of women. "I worked in a Michelin restaurant, and ... here I am a chef in LA, but when I'm in Japan they don't take me seriously..." Check out the full interview above.

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