Photo by Sammy Faze Photography

 

I aspire to be the best that I can be in all aspects of creating, serving, and being a bartender. This website is simply to document some parts of the journey. I hope that you may find some inspiration and solace here.

 

Practicing for my first Speed Rack competition, back in 2014.

 

Striving to balance technical skill with inexhaustible creativity and an unremitting passion for hospitality.

 
Photo: Sammy Faze Photography

Photo: Sammy Faze Photography

 

My story

A little bit about me.

I have been in the service industry for over 10 years now. Until the start of 2017, I worked as the head bartender at GreenRiver Restaurant and Bar. I was responsible for multiple menus across three venues, as well as the training of all the staff on cocktails and spirits. During my time there, GreenRiver was awarded their first Michelin star!

Currently I am working as a bar consultant and trainer. I have joined the team of Oriole Chicago, to oversee their cocktail program, spiritfrees, and nonalcoholic pairings.

Looking ahead to 2018, I am partnering with Noah and Cara Sandoval of Oriole to open a bar. This is a dream come true for me. The bar will be named Kumiko, where we will embrace a philosophy similar to Oriole with a thoughtful experience filled with deep appreciation and understanding for craftsmanship.

For those who don't know, I was born and raised in Japan. It was my mother who first introduced me to the notion of hospitality. She would entertain family guests with a meticulous appreciation for details, taking care to tailor our home to meet particular guests' needs.

My moment of epiphany -- that instant when I knew that I wanted to be a professional bartender -- was In Kobe, Japan. With our bellies full of delicious Kobe beef dinner, my friend and I came upon a small, discreetly marked door. We crouched to enter and were greeted by the bartender/owner. He then proceeded to hand-chip clear spheres of ice for the simple highball cocktails that we ordered. This demonstration of an attention to excellence inspired my personal motto: “Everything Matters.” From then on, my path has been clear.