Born and raised in Yokosuka, Japan, Michael became a teppan chef after graduating from the Benihana chef School in New Orleans in 1981. Then in 1984 he was recruited to become a General Manager of Operation for two year at the Teru Sushi in Los Angeles, thereafter, he went on to become the opening General Manager of Chaya Venice and after his five years of service, he went to work for the famed, Nobu Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills to become his General Manager.
After spending five years with Matsuhisa, it was time to go on his own to create the Sushi Roku concept in 1997 as the opening General Manager/Partner. He later developed the Katana, BOA steakhouse, and the Robata Bar concept with his partners at Innovative Dining Group. To this day, Michael is involved in the daily operation of nine (9) Innovative Dining outlets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
As for his "passion projects" the Lazy OX canteen just opened in December of 2009 and has been in the limelight of the local media and was awarded a prestigious 3-star review from the Los Angeles times and the "2010 best new restaurant" in Los Angeles Magazine. Currently his drive to create, design and to execute as the operation specialist for the latest "aburiya Toranoko" is his priority, passion and love.
Born in Hiroshima-City, Japan, Chef Seiji Nakano's sushi training began at the young age of 16 in Osaka at renowned Sushi Han Nakamise. After developing his personal style and craft, he quickly became the sushi chef for Subora Sushi in Hiroshima. Bringing his attention to quality and detail to his dishes, Seiji immigrated to the states in 1986. It was during that time that he began working at Ango-Tei in Costa Mesa as the sushi chef.
In search for a new challenge, Seiji joined Innovative Dining Group and opened Katana in Hollywood as the Executive Sushi Chef in 2001. It was at Katana that Seiji received numerous "Best of" accolades for his traditional, yet inspired omakase. In 2011, Seiji opened Aburiya Toranoko as the sushi chef and in 2012 was promoted to Executive Sushi Chef. Known for his authentic take on Japanese cuisine with a modern twist, with dishes like Kanpachi Sashimi with Ponzo Jello and a cocktail medley of scallops, with sea urchin and sweet shrimp, he constantly works to improve and innovate his dishes. Seiji's belief in hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence has continued to be his underlying philosophy at Aburiya Toranoko.
Chef Hiroyuki Fujita began his professional career in 1985 at "Berg Restaurant", developing his passion in the French cuisine as a line cook in a high volume establishment. Then in 1991, he made his move to a very popular Italian restaurant called, "Chic" in Tokyo. Chef Fujita became the "pasta maker" and quickly moved up the ranks with his hard work ethics and dedication to long hours. After 3 years of working the stove, he was recruited to the famous Tokyo icon, "Tableaux" in 1994 on the opening team to be the pasta specialist.
He became an executive chef at the newly opened Cardenas Restaurant in Hiroo in 1996 where he incorporated his Franco/Italian style with market fresh ingredients that he would select daily at the world famous Tsukiji market to assure that "freshness" was the signature of his style of cooking. He was also overseeing the popular, "Fummy's California Grill" in Ebisu cooking his style of California cuisine and he became a media darling with his "no non-sense and hard work ethics" but most importantly, his true passion to cooking became obvious.
Then in 2008, he join the Sushi Roku group as a corporate chef where he was able to show-case his style and his ability to be a productive leader. Hiroyuki Fujita is the Executive Chef and Partner for Fat Spoon in little Tokyo and his home-made curry, pastas, and salads have not only proven to be very popular but more importantly, tasty and scrumptious. The same principles of making quality, authentic yet unique dishes is carried over to Toranoko where Hiroyuki is the Executive Kitchen Chef.
Jeff Louie has been a vital business partner and co-founder in both distribution and real estate holding companies that he and Eugene Inose created. His forte is in sales, operations and business relations as he helped pioneer a movement in the automotive industry. He is also a graduate of Long Beach State with a BA in business management. His professional interests now include real estate and financial investments, architectural designing, and exploring business opportunities. Jeff will also be looking to expand his role in “aburiya Toranoko” while assisting in the day-to-day management and facilitation of the restaurant.
His personal interests include sports, trying out different cuisines, exotic cars, and traveling. He resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids.
Eugene Inose was born and raised in Los Angeles and has been the founder and owner and the brain-child of the largest aftermarket automotive distributor in a market he pioneered for over 20 years. He then segued into the real estate market where he became involved in the research and development of designing, buying, and selling office buildings and custom homes in Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Southern California area.
By teaming up with Michael Cardenas and Chef Hisa, he is now able to come back full circle into the restaurant industry where he originally started his professional career. He graduated from Long Beach State with a degree in business management and likes to travel the globe to look for new ideas in architectural design as well as discovering new food concepts. Eugene’s pivotal role in “aburiya Toranoko” is in the design/construction phase and business development to expand into other regional markets.
His interests include collecting exotic cars, music, and urban street fashion. Eugene is single and resides in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.