How did you become a sushi chef? "I am a third-generation sushi chef and grew up watching my father make sushi in my family's restaurant. [But] although my father and grandfather are both sushi chefs, I didn't learn from my family. My father kicked me out of our restaurant when I told him I wanted to be a sushi chef, insisting that I should learn from someone else. It's just our family tradition, that we need to step out of the family comfort zone, build our own connections and reputation." What took you to chef Masahiro Yoshitake's three-star sushi restaurant in Tokyo? "A family friend, also an excellent sushi chef, introduced me to chef Yoshitake after I graduated from college. I began my career as a kitchen helper in the restaurant when I was 23. Of course it was frustrating at the very beginning, washing dishes and cleaning up for the chefs all day long. In the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi , there was a scene where an apprentice cried because he had to make dashimaki (a thick egg omelette) hundreds of times before he was allowed to serve the customers - it is just the day-to-day practice that an apprentice needs to do before they can reach the [required] standard. No big deal. Some people run away and some, like me, stay." Now that you are head chef of Yoshitake's first outlet in Hong Kong, is it hard to live up to his reputation? "Chef Yoshitake is very kind and open-minded, willing to share with us the secrets to his cooking. He's no less strict than the other top sushi chefs, though. Of course it's hard to live up to his reputation, and customers' expectations. Chef Yoshitake designs all the dishes - I'm just executing them." How do you think Sushi Shikon distinguishes itself from the other sushi restaurants in town? "Our sushi originates from the Edomae tradition of Ginza, a neighbourhood in Tokyo, that started off as street vender food hundreds of years ago. We treat sushi rice with akazu [Japanese red vinegar] and marinate the fish with a sauce blended and aged in-house before slicing it. To maintain the authentic Edomae flavour, we import all our ingredients from the Japanese fishermen who have been working with chef Yoshitake for years. Many of the ingredients, like the snow crab, come in alive. The ingredients served on our lunch menu were in fact swimming somewhere in the Japanese sea that morning. Also, we have our own secrets to freshness and tenderness - massaging live octopus, for instance. That's why our customers are willing to pay more for our sushi. The moment they step into our restaurant they can smell and taste Ginza."