Chef Daniel Son always wanted to find a way to connect Korean and Japanese cuisines — his two favorites and the ones he finds most interesting and beautiful — but because of his Korean-American background, he wasn’t so sure it would be a fit. “My identity of being Korean and making sushi was really only in my own head and there was an initial insecurity,” says Son.
Still, the chef cites the encouragement from his parents as he expressed his hesitation. “[The concerns] weren’t even an idea to them,” he says. Son trained in Japan and at Copenhagen’s Noma, which gave him the tools to create an omakase menu that today he says is most authentic to him. Having taken over his father’s West Hollywood sushi restaurant Kura, Son has made a name for himself dishes like his blue crab ganjang gejang nigiri — the perfect marriage of identity and innovation. (Last month it was announced that Kura would close this fall to make way for a total redevelopment of the property.)