Sushi Master Makio Idesako arrived in New York in 1972 after years of intensive training in Satsuma and Tokyo. Not yet the cultural phenomenon ubiquitous in strip malls across the country, Sushi was practiced only by master technicians in their stark temple-like kitchens of Buddhist simplicity. A knife, the fish, and the hands of a master were the traditional Japanese ingredients upon which Modern American Sushi built its identity.
Chef Makio honed his craft with fellow visionaries at Manhattan's Tokubei 86 and the French-Fusion Cafe Seiyoken before realizing his dream with the opening of Satsuma-Ya in 1989. Lauded by locals and the press, Satsuma-Ya was a reflection of Mike's roots in the Kagoshima Prefecture where he was raised and began his culinary career.
Great Sushi is informed by Japan's rich cultural appreciation for aesthetics and balance. The arts of ike-bana (flower arranging), origami (artistic paper folding), ukiyo-e (woodblock printing), kabuki (classical dance drama), bonsai (topiary sculpture) can be found reflected on the plate. From Manhattan to Westchester, Poughkeepsie to Long Island, Makio has been infused with New York "Chutzpah" without losing sense of his roots.
Satisfied with his accomplishments, Idesako had closed Satsuma's doors in 2005 for a brief retirement when he received a call from John Novi, chef/owner of the DePuy Canal House in High Falls, NY. Hailed by Time Magazine as "The Father of New American Cooking," Novi's successful fine dining bistro was lacking the essential flavor of Sushi. Turning to his friend Makio, together they created Amici Sushi, and the public immediately took notice. It was at Amici that Makio perfected his Omakase - A style of Sushi service where the patron entrusts the chef to curate an innovative selection of handpicked dishes. Omakase is likened to an artistic performance, highlighting the Chef's mastery of technique, fish selection and palate as offerings transition from light and delicate to bold and brazen, over many courses.
With the success of Amici came the opportunity to migrate to Bull & Buddha, a massive undertaking by restaurateur Jacob Frydman. Makio brought his skills to this upscale Poughkeepsie restaurant, and continued to receive high praise for his sushi, especially the Omakase. With momentum at his back and a world of innovation ahead, Makio left Bull & Buddha to take on a new vision at SushiMakio.
Makio maintains that his Japanese upbringing and strict education set his Sushi apart from the "factory style" sushi appearing everywhere from supermarkets to gas stations. Though he believes anyone can become a Sushi Master with the proper training and time, he laments the mass-production of today's packaged Sushi. Chef Makio is highly regarded in both America and Japan for his sushi preparations and has many well known admirers in the industry.