Ocean to Table Experience with Sushi Kato INORI

  • By Jasmine

In conversation with Chef Toru Tayasu - Sushi Kato INORI

Born and raised in Hokkaido, Chef Toru Tayasu holds a great variety of culinary experience, from masterful cooking in the finest Japanese restaurants, to lecturing in culinary institutes. His ability to provide an exceptional dining experience was exemplified when he won the Japanese cuisine competition 2017-18. Today we had a chance to sit down with Chef Toru Tayasu while he was preparing for the upcoming opening of Sushi Kato INORI at Setsu Niseko on the 15 of December. 

We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today while you are busy preparing the restaurant for the opening. Can you introduce yourself? 

My name is Toru Tayasu, from Tokyo. I was working as a teacher for one of culinary schools and Japanese restaurants for over 27 years before moving to Niseko a few years ago. Since relocating to Niseko, I have been working as a head chef, including now at Sushi Kato INORI, the second branch opening in Setsu Niseko.

You must have lots of passion about Japanese cuisine, can you tell us more about your teaching experience?

Yes, of course. At the school, there are many cuisine types options that students can choose from sushi, tempura, Chinese, Western and Japanese cuisine. I love Japanese cuisine and am very passionate about it. Especially nowadays, when you can get so many pre-made ingredients such as dashi, not many people know how to actually make it anymore. I wanted to make sure all the traditional ways of cooking wouldn’t fade away over the years, so I taught all my students how to make good Japanese cuisine from scratch. I shared with them all of the knowledge passed down from my parents, and encouraged them to develop their Japanese cuisine in their own way and share the greatness of Japanese food with everyone.

For you, what skill is most important when making sushi or Japanese cuisine?

For me, choosing the right ingredient is the key. You need to know where to find the best ingredients, not just crab, tuna, but also rice, vinegar and vegetables. Asparagus from Akaikawa or Kutchan potatoes are amazing. Sushi is served with raw ingredients. I want to be able to offer the most delicious dishes for all guests when they come and eat at Sushi Kato.  We take the freshness very seriously.

Where are your ingredients sourced?

We are lucky enough to have a restaurant in Niseko, Hokkaido. Hokkaido is a place full of all amazing, fresh and high quality ingredients. Through my previous experience as a chef, I have long standing connections with top fishermen and farmers. I also go to the Sapporo market to see what the market has to offer. We always source the best seasonal ingredients. 

We know that you have an omakase sushi course available for this winter, can you please tell us more about a couple of dishes?

This winter course menu is very special. For me, it is not just a sushi course, but it is all about showcasing traditional Japanese food. As I said before, the ingredients are carefully selected, we put our heart into this, and of course, with this menu we feature everyone’s favourite- crab - a lot too.  

One of the highlights is a steamed dish of Savory King Crab with Powdery Snow Salt. We pour Sushi Kato original sake onto the crab before steaming it to bring out its best flavour. You can dip the crab in snow shaped salt.

Another highlight is the sea urchin (uni) sushi. For this dish, we use Hokkaido konbu to wrap the sushi instead of seaweed. Sea urchin’s food is actually konbu so it really does complement each other when you put it in your month. 

The fish or crab we use may vary each day depending on the best catch from the ocean on that day. For example, we may have crab nabe available for some selected dates. 

If you are staying at Setsu Niseko please feel free to come to Sushi Kato INORI for a unique Japanese cuisine dining experience.

What is the Sushi Kato INORI dining experience?

The minute you step foot into Sushi Kato INORI, you will feel the traditional sense of the Japanese atmosphere together with Niseko’s surrounding nature. I won't reveal too much as I would like you to come and experience this for yourself. But of course, you will experience exceptional dining with us. We are looking forward to welcoming you.

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