Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental

“It’s as if the knife remembers and these fond memories come back to me when I’m using it. “

Nori Sugie’s passion for cooking began at age fifteen, when he worked at a restaurant in Tokyo to support his dreams of becoming a guitar player. Discovering that cooking was just as creative and satisfying as music, Sugie traveled the globe and worked at the two Michelin-starred L’Aubergade in France, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago as well as Tetsuya’s and Restaurant VII in Sydney. Sugie is now the Chef de Cuisine for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s Asiate in NYC, where French and Japanese cuisines are beautifully combined.

 

What do your knives mean to you?

My knife holds many memories for me; memories of different kitchens I’ve worked in, different cities, memories of the people I’ve worked with and the meals I’ve prepared. It’s as if the knife remembers and these fond memories come back to me when I’m using it.

 

What is your advice for young chefs?

Try to find your own direction and then develop your own technique gradually. Always be open to new things, new ingredients.Taste everything for yourself.To be successful as a chef you need not only cooking skills, you need to have management skills and a good business sense to run a kitchen budget.You need to be an all-around leader. Find a chef that you respect and admire and then learn from him or her; even better if you can work under that chef! It is important to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world – not just in the culinary world – to stay ahead of trends and develop your ability to anticipate what people want.

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