About

Hiroo Nagahara

CHEF

 

SPECIALTY AND CULINARY PHILOSOPHY

    - Nature Driven Modernist Cuisine – A kitchen is like awell-orchestratedsymphony, every moment tells a story. It flows like ariver -fluid, bending, and ever changing, but most importantly moving. It is about team work and bonding – like water, a single drop is insignificant but together in harmony it transforms into an unstoppable tidal wave. Nature Driven Modernist Cuisine mirrors nature -in both one finds the true definition of controlled chaos. My culinary philosophy rests on the aesthetic values of Wabi-Sabi -finding perfection in imperfection through a medium that is transient by nature.Aplate mirrors Ikebana, where the flower arrangement is organic and simple in appearance, yet the intensiveattention to detail and precision involved is extreme. As with nature, when placed under a magnifying glass, the seemingly simple platetransforms into complex living matter. My cuisine is scenic driven – every plate tells a story– and is driven by the challenge of taking an ingredient of the highest quality from Mother Nature and transforming it to something greater without corrupting its purity. I strive to create cuisine that constantly captures and engages one’s entire sensory experience.
    - Drawing from years of culinary experience and a physics background, inventing cutting-edge culinarytechniques, constantlypushing the boundaries of gastronomy.
    - Create innovative restaurant concepts and menus, design, launch, and manage high-end restaurants.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Corporate Chef Consultant and Director of Operations, Yume Ume Japanese Kitchen,
Gainesville, Florida, a QSR restaurant under Imagin Asia Restaurant Group (January 2012 – Present)

    Contributions:Concept and menu design; kitchen equipment layout and design, recipe guides, inventory guides, food cost analysis, daily operation and set-up guides, R&D, staff training and overseeing management.

    Awards and recognition: Two Design Awards from Communication Arts for Packaging:  sauce
    bottleand ceramic bowl design preopening of the Yume Ume Japanese Kitchen,2012

Stagiaire, Restaurant Guy Savoy, Marina Bay Sands,Singapore(August 2011 – October 2011)

Shadowed Executive Chef Eric Bost from open to close.

Corporate Chef Consultant and Director of Operations, the Chairman Concept, San Francisco, California (August 2010 – Present)

Contributions: Concept and original menu design of the award winning MobileFood Truck, with over 13,000 followers on twitter.Currently in the process ofdesigning and building a brick and mortar restaurant in addition to the 2 trucks and prep kitchen operation.

Awards and recognition: Details Magazine – The 5 Best Asian Food Trucks in America 2012
The Most Mouth-Watering Food Trucks, Maxim Magazine, 2011
Bay Area’s 5 Best Food Trucks, Zagat, 2011 – present
Featured on an episode of the Cooking Channel, 2011
Best Food Truck, San Francisco Magazine, 2011

Corporate Chef Consultant and Director of Operations, Dragonfly Modern Izakaya, a
restaurant under Imagin Asia Restaurant Group, Orlando, Florida (May 2010 – July 2010)

Contributions: Concept, menu, and kitchen design of the award winning restaurant.

Chef de Cuisine, Bar Charlie, Charlie Trotter Restaurant Group, Las Vegas, Nevada,
(December 2007 – March 2010)

Approached by the Charlie Trotter organization at age 24 to helm the restaurant “Bar Charlie” in Las Vegas.Bar Charlie is a Modern Kaiseki restaurant within Restaurant Charlie, featured an 8 or 14 course tasting menu.

Contributions: Menu development, product acquirement, staff training, oversee operation and ensure proper execution.

Awards and recognition: Featured in Culinary Trends, 2010
The restaurant received the Michelin Guide One Star award, 2009
Top 10 sushi restaurants in the United States, Bon Appétit, 2009
Featured in Wine Spectator, Palazzo’s Big Guns, Harvey Steiman Review, Robert Mondavi issue, 2008

Head Sushi Chef and Executive Sous Chef, Dragonfly Modern Izakaya, Gainesville, Florida
(August 2004 – December 2007)

Started out as an apprentice learning the art of cooking rice and quickly advanced to Head Sushi Chef in a year and a half and Executive Sous not long after that.

Contributions: Menu development; execution of menu items and maintain compliance to company standards; R&D for new items; overseeing and training of staff in both front and back of the house; scheduling staff to lower labor cost and increase efficiency.

EDUCATION

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, doubled majored in Business Administration and Physics with a concentration in Quantum Mechanics (2006)

BIOGRAPHY OF CHEF HIROO NAGAHARA
(2012)

Chef Hiroo Nagahara may as well have been born with a fish in one hand and a knife in the other. In the culinary industry herself, Hiroo’s mother introduced him to the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. This would remain an early morning practice for them for much of his childhood. That experience in conjunction with work at his father’s fish market provided him with a deep understanding of the nuances of different fish and how to work with them. By his teenage years, Hiroo possessed fish fabrication skills on par with many considerably more experienced chefs.

For a time it seemed as though Hiroo may abandon the culinary world, as he pursued dual degrees in business and physics with a concentration in quantum mechanics. During college, though, he worked at Dragonfly – modern izakaya and sushi – where he was elevated to head sushi chef in a year and a half and executive sous not long after that.

While working at Dragonfly, he saved his days off to stage at Norman’s of Orlando, Florida in order to further cultivate his burgeoning culinary passion in a fine dining setting. Shortly thereafter he was approached by the Charlie Trotter organization to help launch their new restaurant “Bar Charlie” in Las Vegas. After two months of exhaustive planning, 24-year-old Chef de Cuisine Hiroo Nagahara and his team launched the 18-seat restaurant to broad acclaim (Harvey Steiman review, Wine Spectator, Robert Mondavi issue, 2008; top 10 sushi restaurants in the United States, Bon Appétit, 2009;), garnering the respect of renowned chefs and critics alike.

Chef Hiroo describes his style as modern kaiseki – scenic, ingredient driven cuisine in which every dish has a story – and is driven by the challenge of taking an ingredient of the highest quality from Mother Nature and transforming it to something greater without destroying its purity. It is essential to execute flavor, texture, and aesthetics at the same time – Chef Hiroo’s cuisine is intended to constantly capture and engage one’s entire sensory experience. His desire to remain on the cutting edge of high-end gastronomy has led Hiroo to pursue stages under the world’s greatest chefs in preparation for the launching of a restaurant all his own.