Born and raised in a fishing village in the southern city of Uwajima, Chef Koichi Kondo learned how to cook later in life when he was 18. His father taught him how to make sushi and sashimi, while his mother taught him how to perfect making udon. He came to Manila in the mid-80s and helped set up several authentic Japanese Restaurants, including Hatsu Hana-Tei in Makati where he still is the Executive Chef.

In 2001, Chef Koichi Kondo was introduced to Chef Heny Sison, who at that time wanted to include traditional Japanese cooking in our school’s curriculum. Through the years, Kondo-san has shared his knowledge of authentic Japanese cuisine to our students, highlighting the preservation of its culture and the practice of ethical values in preparing the food. “The values I apply to crafting food are very strict. I have a high standard of preparing food, and I always check the quality—sushi, sashimi, my original maguro tataki, kinshi sumaki, you name it. Of course, authentic Japanese cuisine is important, but I am constantly on the lookout for new Japanese cuisine for the future, which is why I always try new things based on my original style.”