Budi tells his inspiring story about how he started as an apprentice chef at our restaurant Hokkai Kitchen and what his working day as a sous-chef looks like now. He also shares his favourite recipe with black cod marinated in sweet miso sauce (Gindara Saikyozuke).
What do you like most about your job?
The opportunity to keep developing myself. Before I joined Hokkai Kitchen, I worked at other restaurants as an apprentice cook and sushi chef. There, I always came to the point where there was nothing left for me to learn. I missed challenges and development and couldn’t find a place to fit in. That is why I took a break from working in the catering industry in 2017. My interest in sushi certainly didn’t wane and so that same year, I reserved a table at Hokkai Kitchen.
I sat next to the sushi bar where the chef was working and had the best view of everyone. I had never seen his way of working in real life, which intrigued me enormously. Even before my first bite, I knew that the quality would be good. After my first bite, I regretted not having come sooner. I had been looking for really good quality sushi for a long time and never thought I would find it so close to home. At that moment, I knew for sure that I still had a lot to learn and that I had found my challenge at Hokkai Kitchen.
Working with quality products completes it for me. Especially with tuna, it is a real experience when a whole tuna weighing 200 kilograms comes in. This is cut into blocks by other colleagues, after which I have the privilege of selecting the best pieces for the restaurant. At those moments, I am extra proud of my work; I could only have dreamt of it before.
What does your working day usually look like?
I arrive in the morning. First I check the orders and reservations and make a list of the necessary preparations for the day. Think of cooking rice, cutting fish and vegetables and making sushi and miso soup. I divide these tasks among the team, taking into account the development of each individual colleague. As a training company, professional development is of great importance to us.
My preparations start every working day with washing and cooking the rice. As the rice is washed very carefully, this process takes a lot of time: almost an hour. Then I answer emails and check the delivered products and their quality together with the supplier. I also prepare the curry sauce for the Seafood Curry of Hokkai Suisan. In between, I am the point of contact for the team and provide support where necessary. At noon, we open the doors for our guests. Now only for take-away, but normally also for our restaurant. The afternoon and evening are dedicated to preparing orders. We do this with great dedication and attention to deliver the highest quality.
Which fresh frozen fish product do you prefer to cook with?
At Hokkai Kitchen, I get to try many different products, such as Sake Teriyaki, Aji no Hiraki and Shio Saba. I can really appreciate all flavours, but I prefer fish products that you can’t get anywhere else, such as Gindara Saikyozuke. This black cod is first dried and then marinated in sweet miso sauce. The flavour is uniquely special and surprises me every time. At home, a few minutes in the oven and serve with some rice, shiitake, onion and pointed cabbage. It is truly finger-licking good, as luckily my wife and three-year-old daughter agree.
Have you become enthusiastic about working at Hokkai Suisan? Send an e-mail to email@example.com.