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For Toru Sasaki, opening his own restaurant was a dream that seemed simply destined to be fulfilled.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Toru was raised by his parents, who owned a Soba (Japanese noodle) restaurant. After growing up in the restaurant business as a child, it was only natural that Toru started to dream about his own restaurant someday.
However, his parents had their own dreams for Toru. They sent him to an American High School in the hopes it would help Toru get out of Tokyo, become an ‘international’ citizen and most importantly, to start a profession that was “better off than being a restaurant owner like us.”
Indeed, Toru did eventually move to the UK to study International Relations at University, but he kept his passion for the food business industry alive throughout the years. 15 years after graduating, he began to work as a business consultant in London.
He took over a Japanese restaurant in Soho, making his first venture a Ramen bar called ‘Ittenbari,’ which means ‘stubborn’ in Japanese and takes its name from his parents’ small restaurant in Tokyo. His parents’ restaurant is now closed, after Toru’s father passed away just before seeing Toru’s first venue.
“I’m doing what he didn’t want me to do after all, but I did get out of Tokyo and am doing something special. He should be proud of me up there!” Toru says.
Today, Toru is running Sasuke Ramen, located in the heart of Soho just off Shaftesbury Avenue at 32 Great Windmill Street in London. Sasuke offers an exciting combination of traditional and unique Ramen, created especially for local customers.
Toru Sasaki / Founder - Born in Tokyo, Japan.
- Started learning cooking at his parents’ soba restaurant at the age of 10.
- Developed in-depth knowledge of “dashi”, cooking broth or stock from various fish or seaweed, widely used for Japanese cooking, especially for Soba cuisine.
- Creation of unique Ramen using his “dashi” skills. A good example is the soup of Tsuke Ramen (dipping Ramen), which has very rich “dashi” extracted from Bonito, shrimp, and scallop.
Junichiro Kawakami / Head Chef - Born in Chester, UK
- As a British born Japanese who understands the both food cultures, a lot of ideas for new Ramen come from Jun (ex: creating of Ramen for vegetarians)
- In addition to his love for Ramen, Jun is also a passionate pâtissier, who creates unique desserts for Sasuke, such as “Black Sesame Pudding”.
Yukiko Tsumura / Manager - Born in Hokkaido, Japan
- Raised in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture known for its best selection of seafood. And, more importantly, a home of Miso Ramen.
- Sasuke’s signature Miso Ramen has been inspired by Hokkaido. Its super rich Miso broth, is combination of specially imported Miso from Japan, with locally selected fresh vegetables and seafood.