MasterChef Australia: Secrets and Surprises has lived up to its name. We’ve seen Australia’s restaurant of the moment, Serai, put the contestants to the test, Luke Nguyen returned, this time with an epic pressure test, and a few nights ago, the indelible Clare Smyth returned to the kitchen with an impossible pressure test, that literally made contestants cry.
Tonight, Chase Kojima — arguably Australia’s most influential Japanese chef — is not only setting the immunity pin challenge but will be donning an apron for the battle.
Who Is Chase Kojima?
Chances are, if you’ve heard of Sokyo, you’ve heard of the charismatic Chase Kojima. Known for his personal experimentation with new cooking methods and technologies, Kojima has made his signature mark on Australia’s Japanese dining scene and is considered a pioneer in the industry.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Kojima family. His father, Sachio Kojima, born and raised in San Francisco, is the talented chef and owner of Kabuto Sushi Restaurant. This renowned family-run restaurant is still considered the gold standard for Japanese fare and has been since its opening in 1982.
At the tender age of 11, Kojima was exposed to the hospitality industry, working in the family restaurant and being trained by Sachio, a Washoku chef. This rare experience and knowledge contributed to his early success, opening Sokyo in 2011 at the young age of 29.
Since then, Kojima has led kitchens all over the world for Nobu Restaurants Group and has opened his fair share of restaurants, including Kiyomi at The Star Gold Coast, Mashi No Mashi, Senpai Burwood and Chatswood, and more.
His restaurants span omakase experiences that carry a hefty price tag of $300 per person and neon-lit ramen joints, where you can dine for less than $20 on a big bowl of hearty ramen topped with katsu chicken.
What Restaurants Does Chase Kojima Own?
Located in The Star, Sokyo pays homage to Japanese heritage while infusing contemporary touches, making it one of Sydney’s most sought-after seats. Whether you’re lucky enough to get drawn for the omakase experience and booked a table for the a la carte experience, everyone in Sydney has heard of Sokyo.
Similar to Sokyo, Kiyomi sits inside The Star Gold Coast and offers an upscale sushi experience featuring seafood dishes, sake, and a robust wine list.
Wanting to offer big, comforting bowls of ramen to the masses, Kojima created Senpai Ramen, a neon-lit, buzzy hangout known for its affordable ramen bowls, electric tunes, and sushi burgers.
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