Shift Change

Meet the New Hotshot Squad at Shiro's

The team already has a name, and it isn't Shiro's Seven. But it should be.

By Darren Davis October 3, 2014

Shiro's Seven: Chef Yasuhiro, Chef Michikazu, Chef Toshio, Manager Tatsuya, Chef Jun, Chef Aaron, Chef Tsuyoshi

There's been a lot of shakeup behind the scenes at Shiro's over the last few years, and it's easy to mix up the details. Does Shiro Kashiba still run Shiro's? Does he still work behind the bar? Didn't he open up a place in New York?

Answers: No. As of this past April, no. And you're thinking of Daisuke Nakazawa

This year marks the storied Belltown sushi restaurant's 20th anniversary, a milestone the owners are commemorating by officially announcing their new lineup of chefs and management, Team Shiro's. During a media event this week, each new member was introduced individually, their skills and origin story presented with no small amount of pageantry. What it felt like was the assembling of a heist squad. Like Shiro's Seven. Or...bear with me here...Miso: Impossible.

The Boss: 
Manager Tatsuya "Tiger" Nakawake
Educated at UCLA, Tiger cut his teeth in the industry at some of the finest Japanese restaurants in LA, including Matsuhisa, Sushi Roku, Katana, and Boa. He brings with him a little old-school leadership, a little southland swagger. 

The Pointman:
Executive Chef Jun Takai
In the fish markets of Kyoto, Japan, Jun learned the old ways. Six years working in San Diego, then another five back in Japan, and he is ready to put the team on his shoulders. Having seen him butcher a 75-pound Bluefin Tuna, I can tell you this man knows how to use a knife.

The Veteran:
Chef Toshido "Matsu" Matsudo
One look at Matsu and you know this isn't his first rodeo. With 47 years of experience working as a sushi chef in Japan, he will serve as the elder statesman among a team comprised largely of young blood.

The Personality:
Chef Aaron Pate
An American sushi chef, raised in Hawaii, Tokyo-trained, Aaron will charm you with some light banter and then deliver an equisite peice of chūtoro (medium fatty tuna). If I'm at the bar, I'll be sitting in front of him.

The Journeyman:
Chef Yasuhiro "Yasu" Kusano
Born into a small fish store in Fukushima, he has a family tradition of fine seafood. Having worked and studied in Tokyo. Gonpachi, New Zealand, and Beverly Hills, his skillset is diverse.

The Natural:
Chef Michikazu "Michi" Yoshida
Formerly at a live-fish restaurant, then owner of his own franchise, Michi arrived in Seattle with an advanced knowedge of fish selection and technical preparation. 

The Kid:
Chef Tsuyoshi Kobayashi
Don't let the boyish smile and enthusiasm fool you, Tsuyoshi is serious about fish. He's also spent a good amount of time in Seattle, having attended the Capitol City Tennis and Athletic Club for two years. 

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