4x Michelin-Star Chef Jun Sakamoto is known as one of Brazil’s most prestigious chefs. Growing up in Brazil, Sakamoto discovered his passion for Japanese cuisine through close proximity to the country’s food culture. On his own, he purchased books on the culinary arts to self-study, marking the start of his journey that would eventually lead him to becoming an acclaimed global chef.
Sakamoto officially began his dive into gastronomy at the age of 18 when he moved to New York to work at a Japanese restaurant. Honing his craft alongside experienced professionals in the diverse American city is where Sakamoto says he truly learned the secrets of cooking.
Sakamoto’s career led him back to Brazil, where he worked in several renowned restaurant houses including Komazushi, where he took over the famous Takatomo Hachinohe’s position. Today, Sakamoto runs his own self-named restaurant “Jun Sakamoto” from his studio, where he continues to develop his art of preparing sushi like a true samurai of Japanese gastronomy. When it comes to sushi and sashimi, Sakamoto offers traditional combinations, but regulars prefer to book at the counter and leave their luck to the sushi chef. Sakamoto’s creations are unique to each customer, the chef stating that the secret is in the energy he puts into the consideration of each fresh ingredient and how it can be prepared. While he works, guests can pair their sushi with a handful of the kitchen’s curated dishes, such as metal plate specialties called teppans that can feature a variety of ingredients like grilled duck breast.
Despite Sakamoto’s talent in a multitude of classic Japanese dishes, his speciality remains in sushi. His skills can prepare sophisticated creations, though Sakamoto seeks to prioritize the simple. One of his Japanese philosophies is to make food in which the person experiences the real flavor of each and every ingredient. What makes Sakamoto’s sushi preparation and cooking style different from fellow chefs is his attention to temperature contrast between slightly warmer rice and cooler fish. The moment a piece of sushi meets the mouth, the al dente rice grains separate in an enveloped in a smooth mixture of vinegar, sugar and water. Each piece is flavored with a subtle layer of wasabi, and some, like tuna and salmon, have a touch of Sicilian lemon.
Sakamoto’s culinary hand reaches over 35 destinations, though he promises to never grow his restaurants over a certain size. The moment one spot chases too far after financial gain, Sakamoto says, he’lll move on to number 36 to start again from the ground up. Sakamoto’s continued humility and sincere appreciation for food is what drives his influence across continents, no matter where. This year, Chef Jun will collaborate with Kosushi Miami at SOBEWFF and on limited-time exclusive omakase experiences at the restaurant.