About Chef Makoto Okuwa
With over twenty years of experience, Chef Makoto Okuwa has developed his own take on Japanese cuisine, where traditional Edomae-Sushi meets innovative flair. Chef Makoto’s introduction to the intricacies of Japanese cooking, especially sushi, began in his hometown of Nagoya, Japan. At the age of 15, Makoto began an apprenticeship with Sushi Master Makoto Kumazaki; his study continued under the tutelage of legendary Sushi Master Chef Shinichi Takegasa. After ten years of training in Japan, Makoto moved to Washington, D.C. where he began to work closely with Iron Chef Morimoto and was soon asked to assume the Head Sushi Chef role at Morimoto New York and Morimoto Philadelphia. In 2005, he was recognized by the James Beard Foundation for outstanding contribution.
In 2007, Makoto received a New York Rising Star Chef award by StarChef.com. Following these accolades, he also made several appearances on the Food Network’s original “Iron Chef America” alongside his mentor Iron Chef Morimoto. In 2007, Makoto fulfilled a lifelong dream by opening up his own restaurant, Sashi Sushi + Sake Lounge in Manhattan Beach, California, where he remains a partner. Sashi quickly received top praise from Los Angeles Magazine and the L.A. Times. In 2009, Makoto was asked to appear on Iron Chef America as a competitor, allowing him to showcase his extraordinary culinary expertise.
At his new namesake restaurant in Bal Harbor, Makoto continues to evolve his style of crafting playful, exquisitely presented dishes which pay tribute to Japanese tradition. “I have a true respect for keeping with Japanese tradition, but also feel it’s important to add my own variation in order to appeal to a wide array of palates,” says Makoto. In his menu creations, he continues to draw inspiration from his colleagues, mentors, and Bal Harbor’s well-traveled, sophisticated clientele, in addition to the restaurant’s beautiful ambiance.