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Yoshihiko Kousaka Is One of New York’s Most Experienced Sushi Chefs

The chef with a 10-year Michelin star streak takes Omakase into the kitchen at Kosaka

Yoshihiko Kousaka never started out to become a sushi chef. “I actually wanted to become a chef of Western cooking,” remembers Kousaka. But in middle school, a school career counselor told a young Kousaka that cooks were paid the least; so he changed his mind to become a sushi chef, starting at just 15-years-old. “My mother was extremely strict,” says Kousaka. “To say that I left home to train as a sushi chef because of it would not be exaggerating.”

Today Kousaka celebrates 39 years in the business; having spent the last couple years at his New York restaurant Kosaka. Kousaka is one of New York’s most experienced sushi chefs; and has received a Michelin star for ten consecutive years [that’s between Kosaka and Jewel Bako, where he was also executive chef]. “There were several times I wanted to quit,” says Kousaka, who at one point ran away from sushi training for a week. “But when I became a sushi chef there was one promise I made with my mother: [that] I do it for the rest of my life.”

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