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Kaiseki chef defies expectations

  • BRYAN BERKOWITZ / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Chefs Shaden Sato, left, Alan Wong, Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida Nakayama find the fun in sorting and counting taro chips for a dish at Sunday’s Lucky 7 dining event.

  • BRYAN BERKOWITZ / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    “Food is not a one-way street. It’s not art. It has to be reciprocal. It only works when the producer and the receiver both enjoy the experience,” said Niki Nakayama, chef and owner, n/naka, Los Angeles.

  • BRYAN BERKOWITZ / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Nakayama’s dish at this year’s Hawaii Food & Wine Festival event on Maui featured a ladled scoop of dashi over abalone with poached foie gras.

As a second-generation Japanese-American born to traditionalist parents, Niki Nakayama grew up being told all the things she couldn’t do as a girl. All the while, the chef/owner of the acclaimed Los Angeles restaurant n/naka was thinking, “I’ll show them.” Read more

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