OUR TEAM

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EMMA PIERCE, GENERAL MANAGER

With a background in Fine Arts, a trained dancer, and originally hailing from Australia, Emma has always been curious, adventuresome, creative and independent.  Her passion for Vancouver and the hospitality industry has seen her perform many managerial roles in culinary establishments throughout the city over the past 14 years, including menu development, creating spaces, organizing events and promoting venues as well as opening restaurants from the ground up and re branding renovations.  Always a team player, it was Emma’s personality, work ethic, integrity and professionalism that were always noticed and have provided her with many leadership opportunities and what attracts her to the ningenmi philosophy of the Aburi Restaurants.  With a sincere concern for the environment, fitness, nutritious eating and peoples general well-being, Emma is an excellent fit for the Aburi brand lifestyle.  She truly believes in the quality of service, food and experience found in Aburi Restaurants and has embraced the challenge of General Manager at Minami wholeheartedly. She has quickly proven her worth to the organization by always keeping the Aburi philosophies of Food, Atmosphere and People in mind.

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RUTH WHITESIDE, MANAGER

Ruth grew up on the West Coast of Scotland and always had a love for interesting food, beverage and the hospitality industry in general. What started as part time work waitressing to get through school, quickly developed into a passion and strong career. After spending 18 months traveling around the world, she got a taste of what some of the world has to offer, but decided on settling some roots in Canada. Her time spent overseas helped boost her love for learning about different cultures and cuisines so joining Aburi Restaurants was an easy transition. Ruth began as a server at Miku Waterfront in 2014 and was instrumental in the staff training and set up of Miku Toronto’s opening in October 2015. Joining the Minami management team in November 2015, Ruth strives to give the best service, instill passion for the industry and embrace Aburi’s 3 pillars everyday.


STEPHEN WHITESIDE, BEVERAGE DIRECTOR

Drawing international experience from Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia, Stephen has settled in Vancouver finding a home with us at Aburi Restaurants. He began his time as a bartender at Miku, inspiring those around him with his passion for beverage and drive to learn the Japanese culture. Stephen thrives to give his guest a unique cocktail experience whenever they take a seat at his bar.  Now the Beverage Director at Miku, he continues to embrace the Aburi philosophy and lead the beverage culture throughout the company.

ALAN FERRER, CORPORATE KITCHEN CHEF OF ABURI RESTAURANTS & EXECUTIVE CHEF OF MINAMI RESTAURANT

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Alan’s passion for providing guests with an unforgettable culinary experience has driven his career from the beginning.  Starting in Grade 10, Alan has been involved in the local Vancouver food culture, working with some of the top restaurants in town. After hearing accounts of Seigo’s passion and dedication to his restaurants and his employees, Alan decided to join the team.  All his experience and hard work propelled him through the ranks to his current dual position as Executive Chef of Minami and Corporate Chef for Aburi Restaurants. A perfectionist by nature, Alan strives to achieve the perfect balance of flavour, texture, presentation, and technique in every dish.  This sincere desire for excellence and passion for guest experience allows him to lead by example, encouraging his team to follow in his footsteps.

JAY PUGONG, CHEF DE CUISINE

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Jay’s one basic desire is to delight and satisfy people: to present food with soul, allowing Minami’s guests to make new discoveries within their own tastes.  It’s with this passion and over 7 years in the restaurant industry that has made Jay is a staple in Minami’s kitchen. While Jay is driven to reach his own potential, he is always there to help others reach theirs. You’ll always see him with a smile on his face, enthusiastically in bringing both his knowledge and flavour to Minami.

TAKASHI YANAGAWA, SUSHI SOUS CHEF

SAEKO CHOI, LEAD PASTRY CHEF