Chef Kyle Connaughton

Owner Chef of Single Thread

SingleThread is a restaurant, inn, and farm built on the ethos of Japanese omotenashi: the spirit of selfless hospitality which Kyle Connaughton built with his wife Katine in 2016.

At age 9, he had a sushi dinner that it crystalized the course of his professionallife. During high school he apprenticed at one of the oldest Japanese restaurants in Southern California and later attended the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, going on to work at Spago, Ritz-Carlton, AOC, Lucques, and Campanile—moonlighting at the latter two Los Angeles restaurants while teaching at his alma mater.

Furthering his own education, Connaughton enrolled at the California Sushi Academy and later received private instruction from Master Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda at the Sushi Chef Institute. Connaughton worked closely with Matsuda and eventually became chef de cuisine and department chair for the Institute’s fine-dining restaurant.

Chef Fabiola Lairet

Owner Chef of Robata

Fabiola Lairet, a Venezuelan civil engineer who, together with her husband and business partner Ricardo, arrived in Barcelona 14 years ago. Here they developed their passion and love of Japanese cuisine through a number of courses at the Bellart school. The love was so deep that they decided to pack their bags and go to California to train at the Sushi Chef Institute. From there, they managed to get work experience in Japan which allowed them to earn national certificates as Sushi Chefs. Fabiola is one of the few women to have achieved this.

Returning to the Catalan capital, Fabiola and Ricardo opened their successful Monster Sushi and then, just a year ago (October 2016), Robata Sushi & Grill. With an enviable location on the corner of carrer Enric Granados and carrer Mallorca, and seating for more than 150 people is where Fabiola captures version 2.0 of their vision of Japanese fusion food, non-stop from 1:30pm to midnight, seven days a week.

– El National Cat. (



Chef Engin Onural

Owner Chef of Sandfish By Engin Onural

The chef/owner of the Venue Sushi Bar in Palm Desert, Chef Engin Onural recently opened Sandfish by Engin Onural in Palm Springs which showcases the chef’s authentic sushi techniques with the twist his desert fans love to indulge in at his Palm Desert restaurant.

Born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Ankara, Turkey, Engin Onural is not what you expect for a master of Japanese cuisine. But a quick study of his cutting-edge sushi rolls and exotic cocktails prove that both the culinary creations and their creator are one of a kind.

Engin was only ten years old when he decided to become a chef, a departure from his parents who are both engineers. From there, he earned a B.S. in Business Information Management from Bilkent University in Ankara and then moved to Los Angeles where he completed his culinary training at the Sushi Chef Institute and became a certified sake sommelier.


Chef Rakan Aloraifi

Head Chef of Mira Foods

After graduating with a bachelor in Marketing in 2013, Rakan moved to LA to complete his master degree. When the first semester ended, he made the decision to follow his passion and joined SCI to get his culinary certificate. After graduating he started his culinary career by starting at the bottom as a kitchen helper.

Rakan moved back to Riyadh to work in Japanese and Chinese fine dining restaurants, he had the opportunity to participate in a well-known TV show, Top Chef ME Season 2 in 2017. That experience gave Rakan the confidence he needed and he landed another job as a MC in a well-known cooking show in UAE. The show was very successful and he was offered his own segment on Morning Saudi. Rakan started to participate in culinary competitions local and international. He won many prizes from bronze to gold. His career shifted to another level when he started working at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dec 2017. He was named Best Saudi Chef 2018 by the Saudi Tourism Excellence Awards. In 2019 he was promoted to Sous Chef, but now he joined a company to become the head chef of the first contemporary Saudi cuisine restaurant.

Chef David Bouhadana

Owner Chef of Sushi by Bou

Chef David Bouhadana, the chef/co-owner of the Sushi by Bou, a Sushi Restaurant that offers a high end Omakase experience to the people in an intimate and speakeasy environment.

Bouhadana has racked up exceptional culinary mileage, including considerable success in a city with the most competitive food culture in the world. At 19, he was head chef at a successful sushi restaurant in Florida, where he grew up. At 21, he went to Japan and studied for three years. He then went to New York, where he became head chef at a new restaurant, Sushi IO. At 26, he was a partner at Sushi Dojo. He decided to risk everything and launched a wellpublicized fight with the New York City Health Department. Bouhadana, who at the time had failed a number of inspections after being caught preparing sushi without wearing gloves, refused to comply with the city’s strict requirement in this regard, which hundreds of other more well-connected and powerful chefs had learned to accept. Since then, he has managed to open 9 restaurants of his own, to attract raves from leading food magazines and to be included in the Zagat guide’s list of the 30 most promising young chefs in the United States.

132 W 47TH ST, NEW YORK, NY 10036

Chef Javier Garcia Steinkopf

Owner Chef of Noa Sushi & Robata

Graduated: High school IDEA Valencia Venezuela, Santa fe College Gainesville Fl, Sushi Chef Institute Torrance CA, and now the Executive Chef and Owner of NOA & Sushi and Robata Barranquilla Colombia .

Chef Javier is a Venezuelan chef with 9 years of experience as a sushi chef, Japanese food and culture lover. Influenced by this gastronomy I become a chef, to specialize my knowledge I went to the SUSHI CHEF INSTITUTE in Torrance, CA. He has a high professional trajectory of more than 9 years working in recognized restaurants. With his determination, creativity and talent that has come to delight the most demanding palates . His greatest satisfaction is to provide each person an unforgettable experience by tasting his dishes. He loves to mix the traditional Japanese food with it’s culture.


Chef Alven Chu


Alven Chu wants to spread Japanese food culture on Koizen in Gothenburg, Sweden. Alven Chu grew up in the restaurant industry and today runs Koizen and Kuruya together with his family. After training in Los Angeles at the Sushi Chef Institute and eventually participating on its internship program in Japan, he has not only managed to become skilled in the art of sushi, but he has also happy to share Japanese food and culture. He wants to spread further the philosophy behind Japanese food in Gothenburg.

Alven Chu was born in Gothenburg and grew up in the restaurant industry. He is the third generation of chefs in the family, after his grandfather and mother. But it was Alvin’s dad, John, who introduced him to sushi. After he went to Los Angeles and trained as a sushi chef at the Sushi Chef Institute, he came home and opened a restaurant in Stenungsund. Alven helped his father in the restaurant, and he asked if Alven wanted to learn more about sushi. Alven ended up going to Los Angeles and obtaining the same education as his father.

During his school days, Alven Chu volunteered to help on catering events together with chef Andy Matsuda. This allowed him to connect with people in the sushi industry and get the opportunity to learn more and practice at Sushi Zo, a Michelin star restaurant.

Alven uses a signature rice vinegar that comes from the leftovers from sake production along with cane sugar, sea salt and seaweed. He enjoys finding the right balance in his recipes and dishes. Alven Uses ingredients found locally, following the principles of sustainability. He has constant communication with the fish suppliers to ensure the quality of the fish depending on the season. At Koizen, Alven Chu serves his own interpretation of Omakase, that is, to “leave it to the chef”. The guest is simply asked to trust the chef to select and serve the food eaten in a set menu. The sister restaurant Kuruya, on the other hand, serves Donburi and other Izakaya dishes.


Chef Carlos Falcon


Carlos Falcon is known in Kansas City for introducing Veracruz style Mexican Seafood in 2014 at his first restaurant, Jarocho. His passion for quality seafood and his unique style of combining Asian technique with his Mexican cuisine quickly gained popularity in Kansas City, and he opened his second restaurant, Jarocho South in 2017.

His wife and managing partner, Sayaka Falcon, is a native of Okinawa, Japan. Carlos always dreamed of opening a Sushi restaurant dedicated to his wife, Sayaka. The dream came true sooner than later when he found a space in Brookside neighborhood. He named the restaurant “Sayachi”, which is a childhood nickname of his wife. Carlos designed the bar, sushi bar, open kitchen, and the dining room himself to be simple yet inviting where guests can enjoy sushi and drinks.

Falcon first introduced the concept of Omakase to Kansas City in 2014 via Jarocho. Carlos decided to join the Sushi Chef Institute to formalize his sushi training and have the ability to bring a true Japanese experience to his customers out of his own hands. Carlos is very committed and devoted to his craft. Sayachi has become a restaurant that brings modern Japanese technology to their hall and authentic Japanese flavors to the table.
Carlos mission is to always select and prepare seasonal, artistic dishes made with the finest ingredients.


Chef Abe La


Chef Abe was born in Brunei and moved to Long Beach, California at the age of 8. Surrounded by his roots in Filipino and Malay culture, he discovered his passion for cooking at home. This passion grew as Abe worked his way around the restaurant world. At the age of 24, Abe became the owner of the Lowkey Poke Joint in Garden Grove. He grew the popularity of this fast-casual concept through innovating with unique flavors, including his own take on the sushi burrito. He opened his second Lowkey Poke Joint in Riverside in 2016. After starting and growing a restaurant as a self-taught chef, Abe sought out new opportunities to grow his culinary and entrepreneurial skills.

Chef Abe completed his training at the Sushi Chef Institute under the mentorship of Chef Andy Matsuda. Drawing inspiration from Japanese cuisine, Chef Abe began a private in-home chef omakase experience. He has established himself as a private chef serving 7 to 11 course dinners fusing Japanese cuisine with flavors and ingredients from around the world. He continues to showcase his unique cuisine at events across Los Angeles and Orange County and is ready to see what more can come his way. His goal is to inspire more people to enjoy and promote Japanese cuisine.


Chef Tvrtko Šakota


The Šakota company in Navo does not deal with fine dining but with personal dining. Tvrtko Šakota is no longer doing fine dining, but what he would call personal dining. Croatian chef of the year Tvrtko Šakota implements a concept of cooking for a small number of guests, a maximum of twelve or sixteen in one shift. He wants to dedicate himself personally to each guest, as they do in a number of top restaurants in Japan, which have no more than ten or fifteen seats.

Šakota’s extremely personal approach works commercially. In his personal dining the chef and owner, as almost always, personally brings plates for each table, and briefly but in detail explain each dish. Since it is fifteen to twenty plates per guest, Šakota gets busy in the hall as in the open kitchen. The huge advantage of Šakota’s personal dining is in creating trust and the feeling that the guest is actually eating in someone’s private apartment and not in a restaurant, but eating food that no one can prepare at home.

Šakota’s food is technically perhaps the most complex in Zagreb (and a little wider). Sometimes the menu is dedicated to various variations of seasonal vegetables and foods. Shakota itself produces fresh fish sauce, and other characteristic ingredients used in their dishes. The service does not exist in the usual sense of the word because, again, in the concept of personal dining, the chef is the holder of the service. After a long series of years, Šakota decided to embark on his own adventure and open the Nav restaurant. Nav is located in the very center of Zagreb, and it is designed as a place where you will be able to enjoy dishes that combine tradition and modernity in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.