Chef Oh Young
Streets Market & Cafe
3108 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22305
by Chester Simpson
When did you first become interested in cooking? Why did you decide to pursue a culinary career?
I first became interested in the preparation of sushi when I was 18. My father grew up in Japan and I wanted to learn sushi because of the Japanese influence my father acquired there. I got a job in a sushi restaurant and the sushi chef – who was a good friend of mine – decided to teach me. I thought it would be a great learning experience to be able to prepare sushi, which originated in Japan. It would be a great skill to take me many places.
Who have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
My biggest inspiration for where I am today is and will always be my first boss and dear friend who taught me so well in sushi preparation.
What dish on the menu are you most curious to see how it’s received?
My biggest experiment on the current menu is our Ceviche. While Ceviche is a Latin American dish, I’ve added a Japanese twist. Citrus and chili spice and Seaweed salad with fresh Sashimi. I’m hoping everyone appreciates the cross cultures here.
What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to customers is of a high quality?
Sushi preparation is serious business. I can’t cut corners and I can’t ever “take chances” with freshness and technique. I order the freshest seafood and know every origin of each type of seafood. My entire staff is trained to inspect and adhere to all health codes when handling the sushi meats. Skill and pride guarantee beautiful sushi dishes every time.
If any chef in the world could prepare you a meal, who would it, be?
Akira Back the world renowned Korean chef! If I could impress him with my dishes I’d feel pretty damn good. Chef Back has been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, The Cooking Channel’s United Tastes of America, and KBS’s Success Mentor in Korea.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
My guilty food pleasure is my wife’s home cooking. I rarely make it home for dinner on time. I could take a month off and eat nonstop. She’s the best! (Don’t tell my Mom I said this)
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