An Edible Expedition at James Beard

SUSHISAMBA hosted a dinner at the most prominent culinary foundation in America: the James Beard House in New York.
Almost 70 reservations-only guests went on “An Edible Expedition” with a multi-course menu inspired by SUSHISAMBA’s most celebrated cities: London, Tokyo, Bahia, Okinawa, Cusco and Aomori. Executive Chef Cláudio Cardoso, Corporate Sushi Chef Koji Kagawa and Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development Richard Woods helmed the culinary journey.
Following the evening, they sat down for an exclusive interview:
1. Was this your first visit to the James Beard House?
Cláudio: Yes, and it was a great event!
Koji: I’ve had the opportunity to cook at the Beard House on four separate occasions. It is always an honor.​ This dinner was particularly fun as I had the chance to collaborate with the London team.
Richard: This was the second time. It was certainly great to be back again and with a different brand from the SBM family.
2. How did theme/idea come about for this dinner? What was the inspiration?
Cláudio: The theme was to take the guests on a culinary journey through some SUSHISAMBA’s most celebrated cities.
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3. How did you select what cities to feature? The ingredients from each city? Were there specific flavors or feelings that you wanted to evoke? How did you choose the order of the menu?
Cláudio: I spent quite some time researching the culinary and cultural characteristics of the featured cities: London, Bahia, Tokyo, Okinawa, Cusco and Aomori. The order of the dishes was chronological according to the sequence of meals in a day. Guests started with a savoury English-style breakfast in London, followed by a lighter dish of tiger prawn in Moqueca sauce for lunch in Bahia, eel and foie gras nigiri in Tokyo for a late-afternoon snack, so on and so forth.
Koji: The menu featured classic ingredients from each city, bringing to life the texture and flavor of the localities. If guests closed their eyes mid-dessert, we wanted them to feel as though they were in Aomori (pictured below).

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4. Was this dinner your first time collaborating? 
Cláudio: No, I’ve been fortunate enough to do some collaborations with Koji and Richard in the past.
5. What was your favorite part about the evening?
Cláudio: Each course required different techniques and precision. Executing the food with attention to detail and timing was an adrenaline rush.
Koji: The first course – the Kobe English Breakfast – it was a very cool dish and something original to London’s location.
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6. What did you want guests to take away from this collaboration?
Cláudio: Great food, an exciting journey and a memorable time.

Koji: We’re always trying to push boundaries so I hope guests walked away with a new experience.

Richard: An understanding that cocktails can be an experience in and of themselves as well as complementary to cuisine.
7. What is your favorite part about cooking in America?
Cláudio: It was something new and outside of my comfort zone.
8. Did you do anything afterwards to celebrate in New York?
Cláudio: I stayed an additional 3 days to enjoy and explore the city.

Koji: We went for a bite to eat. We were all very tired from the evening so we had to pass on the night-club.
9. How would you compare the culinary scene in New York vs. London?
Cláudio: Both cities have certainly made their mark in the culinary scene. They are very different in terms of offerings, but very similar in terms of standards.

Koji: You really cannot compare styles, but that is the beauty of it – every global city has something unique that sets it apart.
10. As Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development, what cocktails did you prepare for the dinner? What was your inspiration?
Richard: These cocktails were a part of the newly launched ‘culinary’ rage from SUSHISAMBA West Village. The inspiration was the binding of two elements to form one recipe – a harmony of cultures between the bar and the kitchen. I served a few cocktails that capture the essence of this approach: the fresh, fiery and cooling Tom Yam, which combines coriander, ginger, lime leaf, chili and vodka and is served with an accompanying nigiri and the buttery, smooth Wagyu Cocktail, which is a riff on an Old Fashioned with Japanese Whisky treated to a wash of the highest grade of wagyu before being stirred with maple and salted caramel.

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11. You served some of the Culinary Cocktails that will be debuting in New York December 1st. What are you trying to achieve with the culinary-inspired cocktail?
Richard: To show how with the addition of balance, unusual ingredients and those normally associated with the kitchen can work in drinks.
13. Which cocktail is the most difficult to execute?
Richard: The Wagyu Cocktail as it takes time to prep and requires patience and precision.

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crunchin’ on churros

Churros (1)

What goes great with shichimi-caramel and peruvian chocolate? A sweet batch of warm churros!

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gallop for scallops!

seared scallop roll (1)

What happens when Chef John Um visits New York City? We get to snack on his seared scallop roll!

The inside features shrimp tempura and shiso leaves. On the outside, scallops are placed on top and covered in a yuzu miso aioli and a sprinkle of shiso salt coated micro celery.

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throwback tasting

salt and pepper squid

For us, this month is a celebration of #lastcallpark! Our Throwback menu features the addictive Salt and Pepper Squid small plate. Created as a challenger to our beloved Chicharrón de Calamar in 2008, this dish debuted across multiple U.S. locations. To this day, guests debate the best fried squid dish. What’s your favorite?

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grilled “marble”


“The optimal temperature for Wagyu’s flavor release is at 176 degrees F (80 degrees C) & the aroma of peach and coconut is  released”

Wagyu tasting at the “Sake & The City II: Discover Japanese Wagyu” with Youske Yamaguchi

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delicious marble


“Marbling is influenced by both selective breeding and the time & type of feed”

“Feeding a high amount of cereal grains (corn or barley) will provide optimal marbling”


A5 grade Wagyu at the “Sake & The City II: Discover Japanese Wagyu” with Youske Yamaguchi

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A Mid-Summer’s Dream

So we caught up with pastry chef Jerome Guerlet who is traveling across the nation with a new dessert program for all SS locations! (You can check out the new menu at SUSHISAMBA Miami, Coral Gables and both NYC locations so far). Peach Tiradito is a new summer dessert that he created. Here’s his inspiration:


            My Peach Tiradito is connection between the Kitchen and Pastry. My first idea for this came from the hot kitchen – the technique and simplicity of beef carpaccio or salmon tiradito. The thin, precise cuts used for these plates is exactly what I applied to my peaches. I use black pepper for seasoning because the peaches work so well with the freshness of the black pepper. I also thought about the aroma of fruits from summer and to develop a “punch” of flavor to poach my peaches. To bring the creation full circle, I used coconut and lime to make it very fresh and light – like a tiradito. For me, the Peach Tiradito encompasses SUSHISAMBA, seasonality, culinary technique, texture and most importantly – passion.


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Sweet Summer

From Michelle at SSPark: Agave cake drizzled with agave syrup topped with a strawberry rhubarb compote with edible flowers, tofu crema, and garnished with rhubarb chips. Ah, summer.

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Chamomile-Melon Soup

If summer was a soup it would taste like…

Gooseberries, red plums, kiwi, edible flowers, and balls of watermelon and cantaloupe – topped with lychee sorbet and garnished with gold leaves. Finished with chilled chamomile-melon soup… poured table side.

Spoon cheers go to Michelle from SS Park.

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It All Comes Down to the Ingredients

I’m a big believer of using high quality ingredients, and can always count on great results when I am confident with what I put in to a dish. Whenever I can, I shop at the farmers market – Union Square in NYC has a great one. This time of year is my favorite to explore all that the farmers markets has to offer and try different ingredients, especially when I can be in the sun!

If you’re a first-timer to the farmers market, here are a few helpful tips from the Union Square Farmers Market website.

The Union Square Farmers Market

(photo thanks to:

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