“To get a sense of what it must have been like to watch Picasso at work, grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch Chef Shiro Kashiba deftly crack a raw quail egg and deposit the dime-size yolk in the middle of a pile of translucent orange flying fish roe that has been wrapped in dried seaweed”
Shiro and Jiro Then
Shiro and Jiro Now
To Chef Shiro Kashiba, it feels like it was just yesterday.
But in 1970, Chef Shiro introduced the city of Seattle to sushi when he convinced his bosses at Maneki restaurant to build Seattle’s first sushi bar.
Chef Shiro had just completed years of grueling apprenticeships at Yoshino Sushi in the Ginza district of Tokyo, training hard alongside his senior supervisor, the world renowned (and now cinematically famous) sushi maestro, Jiro Ono.
But unlike his contemporaries, Chef Shiro had his eyes on America. Chef Shiro was convinced that he could import the Edo-mae style and “shun” philosophy of Tokyo to the extraordinary variety and delectable seafood offerings of the Pacific Northwest.
He was right. After working at Maneki, Chef Shiro opened his first restaurant, Nikko, in the International District. In 1992, he sold Nikko to the Westin hotel chain and opened the new Nikko at the downtown hotel location. For Westin, Chef Shiro served as Executive Chef and helped open several properties throughout the Americas.
After his first “retirement”, Chef Shiro opened Shiro’s in Belltown in 1994. Shiro’s became a smash success and was one of the pioneering restaurants to usher in Belltown’s revival as a hot dining spot in downtown Seattle. In 2014, Chef Shiro sold his remaining stake of Shiro’s to the I Love Sushi group which operates it to this day.
Nominated twice for the James Beard Award, Chef Shiro has cooked for Japanese Prime Ministers, masters of the arts, star athletes, industry tycoons, and has shared his knowledge and experience with local colleges and universities. Chef Shiro’s dishes have also been served in the First Class cabins of Japan Airlines and United Airlines. But what Chef Shiro enjoys most is preparing and explaining the intricacies and detail of the delicious item he has just served to the customer seated in front of him at the sushi bar.