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Our Instructors

Kentaro Uechi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He is the eldest son of Katsuya Uechi, and grew up watching his father run their first restaurant in Studio City. As a child, Kentaro helped the family business, and would wash dishes and buss tables.  In 2006, he started training in the kitchen and worked his way up to sushi chef.  In 2012, The Little Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya opened lead by Kentaro as head chef. Currently, Kentaro holds the position of Executive Chef and oversees all restaurants in Katsu-ya Group.

Kentaro Uechi

Shinji Kugita was born in Kyoto, Japan.  Shinji, at the age 18, decided to start his culinary journey.  His training in Japan focused mainly on Japanese and Western cuisine. In 2004, Shinji came to the United States to expand his culinary knowledge. In 2010, Shinji joined Katsu-ya Group, and within 6 months, Chef Katsuya recognized his skills and talent, and promoted him to Executive Chef in charge of all locations in Katsu-ya Group.

Shinji Kugita

Masa Ishimura was born in Japan.  Masa has been dedicating himself as a sushi chef for 25 years.  His training and career in Katsuya Restaurant focused on Japanese and California cuisine. In 2016, Masa joined Miyako Sushi & Washoku School to provide his culinary knowledge for future chefs.  Chef Katsuya appointed him to an instructor in charge of all culinary technique in this school.

Masa Ishimura

Shoichi Hagiwara is a longtime chef at Katsu-ya Group.  In addition to his sushi technique, his favorite cooking method is grilling in Japanese Washoku cuisine. He is an experienced chef for Robata, Kushi-yaki, Yakitori, etc. and also has detailed knowledge of Ramen.  His favorite food is Italian.  His variety of interests in cooking are helpful for students who come from various culture backgrounds.

Shoichi Hagiwara 
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Chef Reiko Onaro joined Miyako Sushi & Washoku School in 2024.  She worked as a head chef in a famous sushi restaurant in Japan and came to the United States with her well experienced skills.  She was a former head chef of Kiwami by Katsu-ya and currently works as a Katsu-ya Group corporate chef.  

Reiko Onaro
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