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I got burned out - I worked in the Japanese restaurant industry for close to 18 years (started when I was 16 as a dishwasher) and a professional sushi chef for over 14 years. Working 12-14 hours a day gets to you after a while. As I was the head chef of an extremely busy small restaurant in Yaletown for the last few years, I had an immense amount of responsibility on my shoulders. I have major OCD when it comes to small details, so I took on the majority of the prep work for the sushi bar as my responsibility - sometimes I wouldn't take my lunch break. I would work from 10am to 11pm non-stop in the busy summer season. Of course, I was compensated well, but I just needed to do something different.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the work - I enjoyed talking to the customers at the bar, and I would like to think they enjoyed talking to me, too. How many Japanese restaurants have sushi chefs who are fluent in both Japanese and English? The one perk about working in Yaletown was that I got to meet and talk to a lot of celebrities. I've had conversations with (some of whom became regulars) Kelly Osbourne, Cheech Marin, Robin Williams, Kelly Hu (absolutely gorgeous inside & out!), Mike Reno (vocalist for Loverboy), Raffi (who I became friends with), Jon McGinley (Dr. Cox on Scrubs), Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (photo below), and others that I can't remember now.
I also served Umberto Menghi (Il Giardino), Michel Jacob (Le Crocodile), Emad Yacoub (Glowbal Group) & Rob Feenie (kinda freaked me out when he sat right in front of me). Umberto was amazing....I have lots of stories about him!
Many of the Canucks players were also regular customers. Linden, Bertuzzi, Ohlund, Ruutu, the Sedin twins, Brashear all came on a regular basis to eat in or take out. Donald Brashear would come in by himself for dinner and we'd chat for about 2 hours shooting the shit...as I am not a hockey fan, I never once talked about hockey, and I have a feeling he appreciated that...he was the nicest person - he had a very soft, quiet voice. Henrik Sedin was probably the Canuck I saw the most, besides Linden - an amazingly down to earth guy - I still have his cell phone# somewhere. No! It's written on a piece of paper, not in my phone, or in any digital form, so don't try hacking my devices! Lol...
The players would always come in for lunch after a home game and the bunch of them would order sushi, which always made me nervous, because if I somehow managed to fuck up and give them food poisoning, I would get murdered by some over zealous fans! I would make sure to always give them the best cuts and freshest pieces. Remember the Sedin twins had food poisoning during the playoffs a few years ago? I was shitting bricks because there was a possibility that it could have been me, as I last saw them a few days before the news broke. Thank god it wasn't me! Henrik assured me that it was not us!
So...yeah, there you have it in a nutshell.
2007 Volvo V50
Taken by ex: 2005 Toyota Prius.
R.I.P. 1997 Lexus ES300.
R.I.P. 1989 Acura Legend Coupe LS.
The one perk about working in Yaletown was that I got to meet and talk to a lot of celebrities. I've had conversations with (some of whom became regulars) Kelly Osbourne, Cheech Marin, Robin Williams, Kelly Hu (absolutely gorgeous inside & out!), Mike Reno (vocalist for Loverboy), Raffi (who I became friends with), Jon McGinley (Dr. Cox on Scrubs), Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (photo below), and others that I can't remember now.
Rampage is one weird fella haha ... actually I've met quite a few MMA fighters, a lot of them are sort of ... different, no offense but they must get hit in the head ... a lot
I know what you mean grinding it out at the restaurant for 12-14 hour days ... it's still fun to see and talk to customers though
Back on topic, those pics of the food you make at home looks great! What are you doing now? Just relaxing?... I'm pretty sure it's well deserved