via San Gerolamo Emiliani, 2
“Japanese hardware, Brazilian software”. It’s the now famous definition with which Roberto Okabe likes to portray himself. Born in Brazil, in Sao Paulo of Japanese parents who were themselves children of immigrants, he arrived in Italy in 1997 bringing with him his passion for Japanese cuisine which was born and bred in the family since his childhood. His training began in 1990 in Tokyo, where Okabe arrived as a member of the Japanese-Brazillian five-a-side football team and where he stayed working as assistant chef in the Brazilian restaurants Pracaxi and Saci Perere, and then moved on to practice in the Japanese restaurants Kuroringu, Shisui and Akasaka.
After he returned to Sao Paolo in 1994, he continued his adventure at Mitsuba, the renowned Japanese restaurant where the chef had the chance to meet his master Kajino, thanks to whom he completed his training. In 1997 he started his Italian adventure in the kitchen of Compagnia generale dei viaggiatori naviganti e sognatori, a historic Japanese cuisine trattoria. Two years later he opened the Zen restaurant, the first Kaitensushi in Italy, and then Mori Jungle Sushi in Erbusco, among the hills in Franciacorta, a hair’s breadth away from Gualtiero Marchesi.
The real turning point, however, came in 2004 thanks to the encounter with friend and business partner Clarence Seedorf, from which is born Finger’s. In the centre of this restaurant there’s a stone with: “The meeting of people is where everything starts from” written on it. The ancient Japanese proverb is confirmed by the success of the restaurant, a now established meeting point for Japanese cuisine in Milan. In October of 2011 Roberto Okabe and Clarence Seedorf make their dream come true: they open Finger’s Garden, a town-garden with delicious products. It is made of 1,400 square metres full of oriental inspirations and atmospheres recalling distant lands, recalled with the help of chef Gustavo Young, a fellow countryman of Okabe.
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This beautiful dish from restaurant Iyo is the perfect cover for our selection of the best places where to eat Japanese food in the city that is about to host Expo, the first episode in a series of pieces collecting the best in Milan’s restaurant offer
Victoire Bouna Gouloubi, from Congo, owner, since February 12th 2014 of restaurant Victoire, in via Accademia 56 in Milan. She is one of the 10 people who from January 12th till the 16th will liven up the ExpoGate (in front of the Sforza Castle in Milan) during “La cucina internazionale a Milano” [International cuisine in Milan], a series of events conceived in collaboration with Identità Golose. Free entrance