World Chefs: Chris Jaeckle moonlights in Japanese fast food

Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:54am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chef Chris Jaeckle's desire to open a casual sushi eatery was undiminished despite the long hours he works running the kitchen of All'onda, the New York restaurant where he creates refined Italian dishes inspired by Japanese ingredients.

Last October, Jaeckle and former investment banker Cynthia Kueppers opened Uma Temakeria, a Brazilian-Japanese restaurant where they sell temaki, or cone-shaped sushi rolls, that have proven popular in the South American country.

The 36-year-old New York-born chef spoke to Reuters about his joint venture in temaki and the growing American appetite for higher-quality fast food.

Q: As a fine-dining chef, why did you want to open a casual Japanese restaurant?

A: It's about accessibility. I love Japanese food. That and Italian food are the two I'm most passionate about. I already have the opportunity to cook Italian at All'onda so I was looking for another way to channel something I'm passionate about. I wanted to do something that is not as stuffy as what some people might think of as a sushi restaurant. You have the lower quality ones that don't deliver in terms of things like freshness and quality of rice and fish.

Q: Is there an appetite for your temaki concept?

A: In my opinion, sushi has become American. There are California rolls, Boston rolls, Philadelphia rolls. These things have become what American culture is.

Q: Where did your love of Japanese food come from?   Continued...

New York chef Chris Jaeckle prepares a temaki at his restaurant Uma Temakeria in New York City in this September 27, 2014 handout provided by co-owner Cynthia Kueppers.  REUTERS/Johnny Wolf Photography/Handout via Reuters