Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Hiroo Nagahara is the culinary mastermind behind Nomica and The Chairman. His adventures with food began at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, learning about fish at his father’s fish business and selecting seafood at the market with his mother. As a teenager, Hiroo’s knowledge of fish and preparation techniques were on par with many experienced chefs. While attending college in Florida, Hiroo worked at both a Japanese and a fine dining restaurant, rising quickly and drawing the attention of the Charlie Trotter organization. He was recruited to help launch their new restaurant Bar Charlie in Las Vegas as the Chef de Cuisine, and while there, he garnered the respect of renowned chefs and critics in Las Vegas and won a Michelin 1 Star Award.
In 2010, Hiroo moved with his team to San Francisco, joining forces with Mobi Munch to launch The Chairman, a mobile food truck where Hiroo blurred the lines between fine-dining and street food. The truck was named one of America’s Top 5 Asian Food Trucks in America by Details Magazine as well as Most Mouth-Watering Food Trucks by Maxim. He followed this venture with the launch of Nomica, a modern Japanese restaurant serving refined rustic cuisine alongside an innovative cocktail program in the heart of the Castro District. In 2017, while with The Chairman, he was also invited to compete on Iron Chef Showdown. In 2019, Hiroo opened Bao Hiroo, a restaurant in Los Angeles’ Arts District, with an innovative, fast-casual, stuffed bao concept. Believing that we are all driven by our feelings and emotions when it comes to food, Hiro featured a variety of unique flavor combinations, both savory and sweet, with the aim of triggering nostalgic memories.
Nagahara presented a series of guided kaiseki dinner pop-ups, DEFINING MODERN KAISEKI with Chef Hiroo Nagahara, at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles from November 2 and December 17, 2022. In this video, Hiroo shares his culinary work and thoughts on kaiseki.
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