Chef Yoya Takahashi sought to follow his grandfather Akio Kobori’s lead and become an actor when he moved to Los Angeles in 2000. “I thought I could do it,” says Takahashi, who — largely because of a language barrier — pivoted from acting. Takahashi worked under a couple chefs to eventually become a local sushi master. “Now, I stand on this sushi stage and get to have fun with my customers,” he says.
Still looking to celebrate his influences from home, Takahashi’s omakase at LA’s Hamasaku focuses on his favorite fish from his home region of Kansai (located in southwest Japan): amadai. Also known as guji, amadai is a white fish with a lot of natural oils that’s celebrated widely in the region. “You see amadai everywhere in Kyoto in the summer,” says Takahashi, whose preference is to serve the beautiful fish grilled. “To be able to use amadai that’s from the same place I am from in Kyoto here in the U.S., gives me great pride.”