What Does Chase Kojima Snack On?

From soybeans to stir-fries, The Star chef Chase Kojima tells us what he prefers to snack on during his time off.

It’s the age-old question: when chefs take a break from sweating it out on the line, plating up intricate creations and tweezing herbs from their stems, what do they snack on?

While we’d love to think they’re preparing elaborate, multi-course meals for themselves, topped with high-end ingredients like shaved truffle and caviar, the reality is that when hunger calls, chefs are just like us. They want something quick, easy and delicious that can be thrown together from the contents of their fridge.  

Take Chase Kojima, the San Francisco-born chef behind Japanese fine dining restaurants Sokyo at The Star Sydney and Kiyomi at The Star Gold Coast. With his reputation for perfectionism and attention to detail, it’d be easy to assume the Good Food Guide-hatted chef would be as rigorous when it came to preparing his own snacks and meals.  

“I hate cooking for myself,” he says. It makes sense. For a chef, cooking elaborate meals for yourself is arguably taking your work home with you. Kojima keeps snacking simple as a result. At his restaurants, a favourite snack among chefs is edamame (young soybeans served in their pods) that have been steamed and salted. “It can be eaten right away or even hours later, cold or hot,” says Kojima, making it the perfect snack for busy chefs.

Another favourite work snack of Kojima’s is instant miso soup served over day-old refrigerated rice. “I drop the cold rice into the miso soup and it becomes like a Japanese version of chicken noodle soup,” he says.

At home, he’s even less inclined to cook for himself. When he’s forced to, he keeps it simple with dishes like scrambled eggs served with baby spinach and black beans. “I focus on meals that are healthy and easy to clean up,” he says.

Chicken thighs stir-fried with celery, zucchini, mushrooms and cashew nuts, seasoned and thickened with oyster sauce, hondashi (instant dashi – a bonito-based stock), water and potato starch and served on rice is another go-to.

“I always need to have rice so anytime I cook rice I make sure I cook a lot more than I need, freeze it in portions and then just microwave it as I need it.”

When it comes to snacks that require nothing more than assembly, “lavash crackers, a bunch of cheese and quince chutney is it,” says Kojima. “It’s sweet, crisp, savoury and rich all in one perfect bite.”