Kasun Jayasooriya – Japanese Chef in England
Kasun Jayasooriya, a Japanese Chef in England. An interesting story.
Today you are Japanese Executive chef in UK,. When did this journey as chef begin? What drove you to become a chef?
The first time I ate Japanese food and loved it, was when I was 17 years old in Sri Lanka. One your later my sister (she was living in Japan) brought me to Japan . The first year I learned the Japanese language after I went to university I study hotel tourism management at Sundai Surugadai. At the same time I did my culinary art degree, which I completed after 3 years. Within this time I was introduces to Japanese Chef Gonzalez Kojyu kaiseki dining.
What have been your first steps / working experiences as Japanese chef?
After I finished the university; I join big restaurant group Ramar Ltd, where I worked at Ichigays Tirigen restaurant 6 years as Japanese head chef. At the beginning it was very hard to be respected as Japanese chef among the Japanese chefs. After one year the Japanese chefs respected my skill and accepted me as Japanese chef.
After I went back Sri Lanka for about 1 year; I worked as Japanese freelance and training chef.
When did you move to the UK to work as Japanese chef?
In 2010 I came to England and I worked as Japanese chef at several Japanese restaurants ( Gengi sushi bar, Hakasan group sakeno Hana as a senior Sous Chef and with Nizuni restaurant as a Japanese head chef). Finally I find I joined MAY as Executive chef ( they had 2 restaurants; Bincho one in Soho and one more in Exmout market).
How did you find your way as Japanese chef with an Japanese car manufacture in the UK?
I worked as Japanese Executive chef, which was a great but tough job, as I was in charge for the Honda VIP quests and around 500 menus (Kaiseki style) for the daily stuff. I did this Japanese chef job 4 years.
As Japanese Executive chef for a Japanese car producer: Your “guests” are British and Japanese. What do you serve/ create to make these two so different cultures happy?
It is strange/ the different way, as you would expect. The Japanese at Honda in the UK love very simple authentic Japanese food; but the European people like more the complicate Japanese food.
As a Japanese chef; what does means Japanese food for you?
Japanese food is my everything. This is my passion and dream. As Japanese chef I can live my passion and what I love. That’s the way my quests become happy as well.
As Japanese chef you have many years of progressive responsibility in leadership and experience in Japanese cuisine in multicultural kitchen environments. Since the Japanese kitchen and philosophy is unique/ takes long time and a deep understanding; how did you manage to transfer this Know How to your multinational stuff members?
I shared my passion and knowledge as Japanese chef in all detail. Today there are Japanese 18 Chefs in the UK in leading Japanese Restaurant and Hotels which have been my students.
The Japanese kitchen is often very simple and traditional. As Japanese chef; do you have experience with some modern Japanese recipes?
Yes I have lot experiences with modern Japanese recipes; for example Japanese food base is Sa,Shi,Su,Se,So (Sa mean is SATO (砂糖) Sugar, SHIO (塩) Salt, SU (酢) Vinegar, SEUYU (醤油) Soy Sauce, MISO (味噌) Miso).
The Japanese kitchen also depended on excellent ingrediencies: As Japanese chef in the UK; do get the good ingredients you need for a good Japanese dish?
Most of time I can’t find best ingredients; I just order them from Japan. But so far I can find good value Japanese ingredients more and more locally in the UK.
As Japanese chef; do you have a close connection to your producer/ suppliers in the UK?
Yes I have lot and I’m using direct from Japan as well.
Can you share some of your most successful and some of your latest recipe as Japanese chef?
My one of very popular dish is “miso Aigomo”(miso souse marinated Duck Brest)
- Miso 100g
- Miring 50ml
- Ginger 20g
- Sake 30ml
- Orange 2
- Sugar 100g
- All mix together steaming 10 mints
- After duck marinated 4 h
- After pan fried put in to oven 180 c 12 mints
What are your new projects?
Now I take a new challenge. 18/04/18 I’m starting a new chef job in Lake District Hotels Ltd Lake District; the first fain Japanese fain dining restaurant. I have 2 years time to get a Michelin star as Japanese chef; what a challenge.
Any place in the world you would like to gain experiences/ work as Japanese chef?
Yes I like to work in USA or New Zealand.
If you would open one day your own small and specialized restaurant, where would it be and what it offer?
I like to open my own Kaiseki restaurant, small and with max 30 covers seats in USA or New Zealand.