INTERVIEW WITH OUR GRADUATE ON MARCH 2017
Mr. Antonis Drakoularakos was named the world’s 100 top chefs at the award of the first Chefs World Summit in November 2016. We had short interview with him via e-mail and messenger.
Q1. Congratulations! How do you feel about it?
Just Wonderful! It’s the greatest award I have received so far and my great privilege to receive this award.
Q2. Who else was awarded besides you at ceremony?
99 chefs greater than me! You can check them all here.
There are a lot of Japanese chefs included.
Q3. I think you are the only sushi chef awarded as non-Japanese. How do you feel about it?
That's true. I would like to thank my teachers at Tokyo Sushi Academy for this.
I learned a lot from them while I was there and
I believe that the hard work and good education makes it possible to achieve an award like this.
Q4. I have heard that you used to be physicist. What made you change your career into restaurant business?
It’s true that I studied physics in university.
But as I was growing up and around the age of 23yrs old, I realized what makes me happy is more of doing Cooking!
So, I decided to change my career to culinary.
Q5. Do you remember when you ate Sushi for first time? What did you eat? How did you like it?
The first sushi I ever tasted was a Tekka-maki (Tuna Sushi Roll), it was good as I recall my memory.
Q6. What motivated you to learn about Sushi?
I love the simplicity and the flavor of sushi and sashimi.
I love Japanese style restaurants where food is cooked over the counter style in front of customers.
Q7. You entered Tokyo Sushi Academy in 2014. Why you choose TSA to learn about Sushi?
I spoke with a couple of TSA graduates and endorsed your school. They all told me that school is really good.
Q8. What did you learn at Sushi Course?
I learned the basics of sushi, everything from the scratch: Rice, filet fish, making nigiri and maki.
The greatest thing I learned there was that if I worked hard, I could be a great sushi chef.
Q9. What is the typical day for you from 9AM to 3PM at TSA?
The first hour is theory, watching the sensei(Instructor) doing something
(filleting different fishes, cutting techniques, and making nigiri-sushi).
The next is practice, every student must do the same as teacher showed us. This is what I felt how difficult it is that something that the sensei made easy.
Then break for lunch and again theory and exercise in the afternoon.
Personally I stayed in class every day for a couple of hours to do more practice after the class.
Q10. What was your favorite part of the course?
Watching and admiring the teachers doing.They are so good and experienced.
Q11. What was the most challenging part of the whole course?
To make 18 nigiri-sushi in 3 minutes!
Q12.Where did you stay while you were in Tokyo?
I stayed at airbnb room with Japanese roommates at Shinjuku.
It took 20 minutes to walk for Tokyo Sushi Academy.
Q13. What was the most exciting activity in Japan? You seemed enjoying a lot besides school.
I enjoyed going to Japanese festivals (matsuri). People were celebrating with traditional dance and great street foods.
Q14. What is the difference before & after entering our school?
It’s like difference between black and white.
You think you know a lot of things, but wait to see until you start learning from TSA’s sensei(instructor).
Q15. Could you tell us about your sushi chef career story after you graduated our school?
It took me about one and a half year until I found a place and opened my own restaurant. I work there ever since. For me this place is like a dream come true having my own restaurant.
Q16. Please introduce your restaurant Sushi Mou in Athens, Greece.
Sushi Mou (which in greek means my sushi restaurant)
is a typical Japanese sushi bar.
It doesn’t have tables only the bar and I make sushi in front of customers.
We are open Monday to Friday, we serve strictly 30 people only per day,
we only serve sashimi, nigiri and chirashi don.
Average price for dinner is 50-60 euro per person (drinks included).
Q17. What kind of Sushi/Japanese Cuisine is popular in Athens for now?
Sushi is really popular in Athens, but most people prefer “American style fusion sushi” like uramaki rolls with mayonnaise.
Q18. What’s your motivation for Edomae Traditional Sushi?
Just like Japan, we have really good sea products in Athens.
Only edomae sushi can take advantage of the good quality.
Q19. What is your Omakase menu?
Nine out of ten customers ask for omakase.
I always serve a big sashimi platter where I put a little bit of every fish I can get that specific day. Then I serve nigiri. After the nigiri, I serve a small chirashidon. Last thing is unagi and miso soup.
Q20. What’s your most favorite ingredient among omakase dishes?
The oshi sushi katsuo bonita nigiri,
The aka bora nigiri and whole fish sashimi (sugata zukuri style)
Q21. Any comments to our future students!
Don’t hesitate to go to TSA!
Teachers there are great and they can help you to learn the fundamentals of making sushi, especially edomae-style.
With that education and hard work, you can make your career as a sushi chef!