Today we’d like to introduce you to Takeshi Kamioka.
Takeshi, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was raised in the restaurant industry since a very young age, you could say I grew up in it! My parents moved from Japan to the United States as young adults and worked in different restaurants. They actually meet working at Benihana. When I was about 11 years old, my dad took me to the restaurant where he worked and had me wash dishes and cut lettuce, maybe for about $5 a day? Yes, this was totally illegal! My parents opened their first restaurant in 1984, which was a small Japanese restaurant on Las Olas called Japanese Village. I worked with them and then other Japanese restaurants including Nobu when they first opened. Around the age of 21, I found a passion for cooking and creating new dishes, which led me to then open my own restaurant in 2011 called Gaysha New World Sushi Bar. Gaysha was a boutique-style sushi bar located in Wilton Manors, FL with a seasonal menu, hand-picked fish and constant specials. I sold the restaurant in 2017 to focus on tattooing and opening Kaminari Ramen.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely has not been a smooth road! Long hours, stress and convincing costumers about what’s good and why my fresh sushi is more expensive than the frozen fish from across the street has not been easy. This all led me to have some health issues and spending quite some time in the hospital. In business, fresh and handmade are not always the easiest route.
Please tell us about Kaminari Ramen.
Right now myself and my girlfriend Melody have been running a ramen pop up shop called Kaminari Ramen. We are mainly in the Fort Lauderdale area and specialize in making authentic Japanese style ramen as well as some fun inspired Asian street food. We are proud of creating a genuine experience while using the best ingredients. Melody and I are passionate about ramen. To say we love it wouldn’t be enough. We have been spending time in Japan over the last few years – where we taste and eat all the ramen we can, as well as taking a ramen making class! You can never learn enough. We take pride in what we’ve created.
Is there a quality or characteristic that has played an outsized role in your success?
We like to do the right thing, not cutting corners as an easy way out to make more money. All our product takes time – the pork belly is hand-rolled and either braised or smoked vs. buying the frozen pre-cooked one, we use fresh noodles vs. instant ones, cage-free eggs that get marinated vs the low-quality ones, hand-cut all the veggies, etc. We feel all these things and be seen and tasted in our products.
- Phone: 9542492520
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @kaminariramen