by Jeni Bone
Japanese-American Chef, hase Kojima, best known for helping raise the profile of Robert De Niro's Nobu chain of Japanese restaurants, of which there are 22 worldwide, has opened his first venture new venture in Australia, Sokyo at Sydney’s $850m redevelopment of casino and entertainment complex, The Star.
Chase Kojima at the opening of Sokyo, July 2011.
Kojima quit Nobu earlier this year and moved to Australia to set up home in Pyrmont, near the Sydney Fish Markets, to develop a menu for the 120-seat restaurant, due to open in October, part of the exclusive 171-room hotel on-site at the former Star City casino.
The redevelopment will include a reorientation of the property to embrace Sydney’s city skyline and harbour, incorporating new restaurants and bars, a new hotel, a fully refurbished and upgraded casino as well as a state-of-the-art entertainment and events centre.
When he first arrived, Kojima says he was stunned at the variety of seafood in Australia. 'I'd never been here before. Every time I go to the Fish Market there’s a new fish. Scorpion fish this day, and then there will be like some other squid this day, and then there is a clam this day, and then there is a conch.'
CHASE KOJIMA THE STAR CHEF'S EVENT BISTRO 80, LVEL 2, THE STAR, PYRMONT THURSDAY 14TH JULY, 2011 PHOTOGRAPHER: BELINDA ROLLAND © 201
And the fish-folk there really know and love their stuff. 'The people have so much respect and pride in their products and their fish. I was just so pumped, I didn't sleep for two days, I was just cooking, cooking, cooking.'
Kojima is adding his voice and considerable clout to repositioning the fishing industry as respectful conservationists, treating the seas as a nursery and sanctuary to be carefully tendered not pillaged.
More at www.star.com.au