Chef Atsushi Yamamoto grew up eating ramen noodles in his homeland of Japan and sought to perfect them with his culinary prowess later on, opening his first award-winning ramen joint in Tokyo in 2006.
Toronto got a taste of these noodles in 2017 when he opened up Konjiki Ramen. We discussed the newest dish being offered at the Toronto location, his culinary background and his hopes for the future of his growing restaurant empire.
You are a very talented chef. What is your background in the culinary field?
I studied Japanese-style, Western-style (French, Italian), Chinese-style, and many more cuisine and then implemented the process for cooking ramen. It took a lot of effort and work to be able to choose which flavour profiles go together and find the perfect harmony of ingredients.
What promoted you to open up a ramen restaurant versus one focusing on another type of Japanese food?
I wanted to open the shop having the new concept which sticks to Japanese-style.
Why did you choose Toronto for the first overseas expansion of your ramen restaurant?
I was very interested in the ingredients in North America and I wanted the local people in Canada to taste authentic ramen.
How long did the preparations take for Konjiki Ramen to open up, and how gratified are you with its ultimate success?
It took 1 year for the preparations. It is rewarding that we are receiving good feedback to date. I am a perfectionist and I keep trying to improve on the quality of the dishes that we serve.
What is the most popular dish at Konjiki Ramen?
Our most popular dish that we serve is the Shoyu Ramen, that has special soy sauce base with more intense flavou than the traditonal Shio (sea salt) base.
You are currently developing a new noodle based meal. What was your inspiration for this new dish, and how long was it in development?
It took approximately 3 months to develop the new dish. I wanted to create new dipping noodle like nobody has ever tasted before. I imagined the western-style of sauce and wanted to create something that everybody can enjoy. The taste changes during every step.
What was the early feedback to this new offering?
Seems like customers are pleased with dipping noodle. Our feedback from the private tasting event wa extremely positive which is great as it is very different from our typical offerings.
Do you foresee opening up any other Ramen restaurants here in Canada?
Yes. I am so glad that Canada has fallen in love with my recipes. We have another location currently in the work for downtown Toronto. Possibly more locations on the way. I need to ensure that the quality is good and consistent.
Is there anything you would like your fans to read?
I'll try to launch the limited menu with many kinds of ingredients in the future and improve the quality of regular menu to be the best ramen chef in the world. Thank you everyone for your continued support!