Quality Starts At The Source – Seafood: Where Ritual Meets Art

While they all come from different backgrounds and specialise in a variety of cuisines from Italian to Japanese, Southeast Asian to modern Australian, the one thing that The Star’s team of talented and passionate chefs have in common is their love for using premium quality, sustainable and local produce.

In this new content series, we’ll delve into the local sourcing journeys of some of The Star’s culinary experts, kicking off with Sokyo and Kiyomi’s Executive Chef, Chase Kojima.

When dining at The Star, you can rest assured that while every dish is beautifully presented and tastes delicious, precise care has also gone into selecting each and every ingredient.

This comes down to the chef’s passion that quality starts at the source.

Take Executive Chef of Sokyo and Kiyomi, Chase Kojima, who cares deeply about sourcing sustainably, supporting Australian businesses, and focusing on quality over quantity – especially when it comes to the seafood served in his restaurant’s. 

That’s why, despite having a full team of chefs working under him at both venues, Chase chooses to personally visit the Sydney Fish Markets each week to select the fish that will make its way into Sokyo’s dishes.

And no fish is more important than the deliciously-pink, fatty toro tuna that is the star of the show in one of Sokyo’s most popular dishes – the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice.

Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice

Waking up at the crack of dawn, Chase ensures he is one of the first in the door at the Fish Market to ensure he gets his pick of the highest-grade catches of the day. There, he greets his friendly suppliers, watches passionately as the fishmongers select the best fish, and oversees the fish being broken down into each premium cut, saying “it’s something that I love to do.”

“I guess someone else can go for me, but it’s like watching Roger Federer in the finals. It’s an art.”

To inspect the fish, Chase crouches down and gets close to the glistening tuna laid. “You can check the quality of the fish by looking at its tail. I also like to find the biggest and most round ones.”

Having visited the Fish Market for over 10 years, Chase is a strong believer in fostering close  relationships with his suppliers, especially those who share the same values and strive for the same level of excellence in the quality of their produce.

“Every single piece of fish is handled extremely well with the utmost care,” says Frank Theodore, Food Service Manager at Getfish, one of Chase’s regular suppliers at the Sydney Fish Market.

“Our suppliers treat the fish so beautifully in order to keep fish levels healthy and available for future generations,” adds Chase. “It motivates me. They then give it to us and it’s our turn to do the same and give back to the customers. You can taste the difference – the freshness, the quality. It’s unlike anything else.”

As one of Australia’s finest Japanese chefs, Chase is renowned for his innovative, sophisticated and elevated take on Japanese cuisine, his expert precision and considered presentation – which often looks like a work of art.

So, where does a chef of his calibre find inspiration?

Chef Chase Kojima

Chase says it comes from both dining at restaurants and immersing himself into the world of fashion.

“When we’re creating or finalising a dish, I’m thinking about execution and presentation. Which is the same for fashion. If a dish looks beautiful, smells good and tastes delicious, it’s a win win.”

This is true of the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, with Chase explaining that once you put it into your mouth it’s like a “flavour and texture explosion,” and truly showcases the fresh, premium and sustainably sourced tuna that Chase picks up for the Sydney Fish Market each day.

Don’t just take our word for it however – you’ll have to come see and taste it for yourself.

Book a reservation at Sokyo today.