Listen to 360 MAG Vaughn Lowery and Chef Shin Podcast: HERE
Chef Shin Thompson was an underground Cookman turned Michelin star chef in Chicago for his Chicago Restaurant. Although he spends most of his career in Chicago. He now recently moved to LA to start a new Japanese BBQ restaurant.
The challenge he had to have to earn the star for the restaurant in Chicago is that you must be able to cook well for 365 days. Chef Shin Thompson felt accomplished that the people were able to realize the passion that he has for the food. He said, “It was a great feeling to be recognized for all the hard work that went over the years.”
At first, he got interested in being a chef because of his parents. He said, “My dad was really big into cooking at home and replicating recipes from his travels and so really where I got interested in it.”
As a child, he would spend most of his time traveling with his dad. He said, “I first got exposed to food from all the different travels, my dad used to take me out of school for weeks at a time…so take me out of school and we just learn about different cultures, and we traveled all over Europe and all over Asia.”
His family comes from a Japanese household; therefore, it played a huge role in introducing him to the food. “My mother is Japanese, so anybody who’s in a Japanese family will tell you that food is a big part of the culture in Japan and is a heritage to be a big cook if you’re Japanese. So, my mom was always cooking Japanese food and my dad was always cooking food from all of these different cultures, so I got exposed to a lot of different things at a young age.” He spoke.
While he works on a restaurant tour, he introduces us to his challenges and thoughts on what means to succeed in the restaurant business. He said, “The interesting part about the restaurant business that I find fascinating is it takes different skills sets, so you need to be an artist from the chef perspective you need a business person that can really understand the numbers and the food costs, labor costs, you need marketing and being able to or more like psychology getting into the mind of the people who coming into the restaurant.”
According to Chef Shin Thompson, the restaurant will have private rooms with “Asian-looking screens.” Along with the modern look and Japanese style. It will have the décor of “Japanese charred wood, which is called Shou Sugi Ban, which is a Japanese technique that is used in ancient times, where they actually charred the wood and they would use it for the siding in their homes” he said. It’s good for resisting fire. The reason is that there is nothing to burn since the wood is already charred.
For the menu, “The BBQ grill menu is about $148 dollars for domestic tasting, which includes full meal” he said. There will be an A5 version that is not domestic, however, it will more expensive. In Japan, having a restaurant being A5 means the best.
Some of the upgrades that are still in progress are the “wine cellar that we will have in the middle of the dining room, as well as several dry agers that will be built in the wall as a display.” Therefore, when a guest walks in, they will see the dry agers that will have meat.
One piece of advice that Chef Shin Thompson gives to young chefs is “there are a lot of sacrifices that you need to put in as a young chef and in order to make sure it is worthwhile, you need to be 100% passionate about what you do.”