As one of the longest employed members of our team, Kazuki has seen many changes within the company. His infectious smile beams from the sushi bar as he creates beautiful experiences for his guests. As a certified nurse, Kazuki didn’t have too much to worry about around all those sharp knives when he joined the Tora Corporation at 18 to learn the skills of a sushi chef. At 22, he had the opportunity to come to Vancouver to help open Miku and after a year, decided that he wanted to make Vancouver, and Miku his permanent home. With his years of experience with the company, Kazuki was selected be part of the opening team for Minami. The relationships that Kazuki built with Tora, strongly imbued the idea of Ningenmi within himself. He wanted to create that kind of workplace in a new, foreign environment while also striving to improve his sushi skills.
One thing runs common with the chefs at Aburi Restaurants, they all have incredibly contagious grins. Hideto is no exception. The joy that emanates from him as you greet can be attributed to his great passion and love for the company. He started with Seigo in 2006, working in the kaiten sushi division of the Tora Corporation. After climbing the ladder to Head Chef in just a year, Hideto got the opportunity to see what it was like to work overseas. He worked behind the sushi bar at Miku for several weeks to learn North American service style and to bring that influence back to Japan. His admiration for the passion and service that he saw at Miku, pushed him to join us in Vancouver permanently. He helped open Minami and continues to contribute greatly to the Aburi concept. With his passionate embrace of all 3 of our pillars, and never settling for less than 100%, Hideto continues to provide Aburi restaurants with delicious and creative dishes.
Makiko first moved to Vancouver in 2005, and while pastry was not her original trade she quickly became intrigued by this art form through watching pastry competitions on The Food Network. Makiko was inspired to take pastry classes at Vancouver Community College and begin her career in culinary arts. She applied all over Vancouver but due to her lack of experience, no one was willing to hire her. In 2009, Executive Pastry Chef Chris Janik took Makiko under his wing, stating that it was not all about skill, but about attitude; and young, passionate Makiko possessed both the willingness to learn and drive to succeed. Her transition into the art of pastry was virtually seamless, greatly due to her strong background in the arts. When Minami was slated to open, Makiko was the optimum candidate to head the pastry team and carry on Chris’s exquisite menu to the new restaurant. Under Chris’s guidance, Makiko worked diligently to develop the dessert menu at Minami, which includes both trademark desserts from Miku as well as her own unique and delicious creations.
ALAN FERRER, KITCHEN SOUS CHEF
While cooking dinner for his family is one of his favourite ways of using his extensive culinary skills, it is Alan’s passion for providing guests with an unforgettable culinary experience that drives him in his professional career. A perfectionist by nature, Alan strives to achieve perfection with every dish. His sincere desire to provide guests with an impeccable dining experience motivates him to maintain the highest of standards while encouraging his fellow chefs to do the same. Since 10th grade, Alan has been involved in the local food industry from Pasta Bar to Cardero’s and even Joe Forte’s. After hearing accounts of Seigo’s passion and dedication to his restaurants and his employees, Alan decided to join the team. He hopes to continue evolving his skills in the kitchen, while at the same time, passing on his experience to the newer staff. Ultimately, he would love to become an Executive Chef for one of the many restaurants Aburi hopes to open.
Karen came to Miku with a background in administration and accounting. In 2010, she decided to leave her home in Australia in search of a new adventure. Her free spirit led her to Vancouver, seeking a new career path in a fast-paced environment. Immediately her brightness and aptitude for numbers garnered her a position as Head Guest Services. After a year or so, the travel bug hit again and Karen left her position to visit family and friends around the world. Luckily for us, she came back, and with open arms, the team asked her to become our Event Co-Coordinator. With her knowledge and history of the restaurant, she has become a strong asset to the team; taking care of event planning at both locations, mentoring the guest services teams and working with the concierge community in Vancouver. Karen is a great example of the development and growth that can be achieved within the Aburi Brand.
Hide-san is one of the key members of our team. His passion, devotion, and belief in putting others before himself, makes him one of the most dedicated and hard-working individuals you may ever meet. He’s also another wonderful example of growth within the company. At 18, Hide joined his first restaurant in Japan, and immediately felt drawn to the industry. His experience in Japan created a desire to learn more about not only his job, but people as well. In order to achieve this, he decided to come to Vancouver to study while developing a career as well. He came to Miku in 2010 as a member of our support team, studiously working long shifts to learn every possible detail of being a valuable member. Again, his dedication paid off when he eventually moved into serving, then management. When Minami opened, he was approached to become one of the lead managers. His love for the Aburi Brand really comes from the unique vision set forth by Seigo, and the idea that no one is better than anyone else. We all learn something from every single person we encounter, and Hide’s desire to influence people is certainly well balanced with his desire to be taught by those around him.
PATRICK RIDER, MANAGER
After moving to BC in 1996, Patrick started working in the industry for Milestones for almost 10 years before moving onto the Sequoia group of restaurants. His extensive experience and strong personality led him to Miku in 2011 and quickly rose through the ranks to Bar manager. It’s his sense of family that really makes him a great fit for the Aburi brand. Not only does he understand how to support and aid in the growth of his fellow staff members, but he really looks out for the restaurant and its family. Every day, new challenges arise, and it’s the call of the challenge that truly brings him great satisfaction.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Ben is no stranger to the city and the culinary adventures it has to offer. He adopted the Ningenmi philosophies naturally and transitioned into the Aburi team with ease, greatly due to his undeniable passion for the restaurant industry and welcoming, personable nature. As an industry veteran, Ben quickly became one of the lead employees on the Minami opening team. After running the Penny Lane pub with his father for nearly a decade, and opening up The Hood neighbourhood pub, Ben’s experience and professional relationships in the industry made him a clear-cut choice to develop the bar. Shortly after the opening of Minami, Ben was promoted to Manager. Ben brings experience, leadership, professionalism, passion and a level of customer service that embraces the concept of Omotenashi wholeheartedly. It is no wonder both the customers and bartenders alike love being at the bar.