Digest Kitchen Insider

October 7, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: Leah Friel

Ichiriki partners Riki Kobayashi and Issei

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers who work diligently day in and day out to make sure Hawaii’s diners have a top-notch dining experience.

This week, Dining Out gets the inside scoops from Ichiriki partner Issei Kazama, who gives us a little taste of Ichiriki and shares just what fuels his culinary drive.

Name: Issei Kazama
Title: Partner at Ichiriki
Years at Restaurant: 12 years
Training/Education: 17 years in the hospitality industry

Who or what inspires you as a chef/manager/owner?

My inspiration comes from the smiles on our customers’ faces when they are enjoying their time with their friends and family at Ichiriki. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right when it brings a smile to someone’s face.

What’s your most popular dish?

Our Ichiriki Nabe and Pirikara Nabe are our two best-sellers.

Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request?

Yes, we have a not-so-secret nabe called Angry Goma Nabe. We made it with our spicy-food lovers in mind. It has jalapeno and habanero peppers in it that I personally cannot finish because it’s too spicy, but I’m a wimp! Angry Goma Nabe is not just spicy, it’s very flavorful, too!

What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received as a chef/manager/owner?

“Ichiriki is my favorite restaurant!” Every time I hear that, whether it’s from a child or food critic, it really makes my week. Our restaurant has only one goal, and that is to make our customers happy. When I hear those words, I feel like I’ve won the Super Bowl.

If you could serve food to a celebrity, who would it be and why? What dish would you serve?

I’d like to serve our Ichiriki Nabe to President Obama because he’s probably very stressed out and nabe is a great Japanese comfort food.

Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant

510 Piikoi St.

98-150 Kaonohi St.

46-047 Kamehameha Hwy. (coming soon)

Open daily, from 11 a.m. (lunch) and from 4 p.m. (dinner)

Honolulu, HI 96814

Aiea, HI 96701

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best