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Chef Nozawa Retires

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 1, 2012, 7:58 PM


140324404mk006 by spyed
Credit: Michael Kovac ( www.kovac.net/ ) 


My favorite Sushi Chef and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Nozawa are retiring as of yesterday. I was able to deliver this letter to them last night, along with a bottle of champagne. And I was honored to deliver a last toast, and incredibly beyond belief honored to eat the last piece of sushi served by the restaurant. A new restaurant for the sushi chain called "Sugar Fish" (a partnership between Nozawa, and his sun plus another partner) will replace the original Nozawa which has operated from Ventura Blvd in Studio City for the past 25 years.  Sugar Fish at this location is scheduled to open in May. 

The New York Times covered the closing of Nozawa, known as "The Sushi Nazi" in the following story; "Putting Away His Knife and Those Cutting Words



Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Mr. & Mrs. Chef Nozawa,

There is no establishment in the city of Los Angeles that I enjoy more than that of your restaurant, Sushi Nozawa. It is the culture, consistency, service and overall quality that I have come to love over my past 11 years of patronage.

I was 20 years old when I first had your sushi. I was just starting my current business and I had very little money. When I would save a little, I would bring a friend, a date, a business associate, a co-worker, or anyone who I wanted to inspire or treat to something special.

Through the years as my business grew, Nozawa became a tradition and a place that I would bring only the people I cared about most.

But first, I would scold them in the car.

“Now listen, I need you to leave your phone here. And when you walk in to this place you must put your best foot forward. Bring only positive energy through those doors! If he tells you not to dip, you don’t dip in to the soy sauce. We’ll sit at a table and not the sushi bar, so he doesn’t watch you as closely. But if you get me kicked out of here, I’m telling you I’m not sure if we can be friends anymore!”

Of course I’d have a sense of humor in my voice, but I meant it.

Alongside every respectable business owner are very human motivations. Perhaps with Nozawa you have wanted to uphold a tradition set forth by your mentors or your parents. Or perhaps the motivations are deeper. Anything done so well for so long speaks to a different standard and conviction and determination inside of a person, (or a husband & wife!) than is typical.

Part of why I love your establishment is because I share this conviction in my own business. I know how rare it is. And even more important to me than the fish is the aura of discipline and perfection that is present for any visitor who can see it.

Alongside the deeper motivations for a business owner are more superficial ones that help you to celebrate the small and big victories along the way.

For me and for many of my employees it has become tradition to celebrate these moments in my business with you at Nozawa.

People will speak often of the trends you set in Los Angeles to hold sushi to its traditional roots. And how you’ve defended the art & culture of sushi by scolding rude visitors. But it was important to me that you know how clearly your discipline and hard work shines through Nozawa, and has been an inspiration to other entrepreneurs such as myself in the city.

So you can understand how much I respect your work. How much we will all miss it. And what an impact it has made in the local community.

Sincerely,

Angelo Sotira


Co-Founder & CEO

deviantART.com



P.S. My girlfriend and I happened to be at the restaurant when the NYTimes photographer was taking photos for your feature. We were lucky enough to be in the photos, and we view it as an honor to be sitting at the sushi bar where we have been so happy for many years!

Png-4 by spyed



And this is her hand holding my favorite dish, the crab hand roll!!    

Screen Shot 2012-02-29 at 3.51.45 PM by spyed



spyed sense:


i really need to change my signature.
it's been simmering in lame for way too long.

:meditate:
Ninja image created by AndyFairhurst

Cheers to one heck of a culinary artist in Los Angeles!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmhalpert:
mhalpert Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012
I am going to sincerely miss this place. After staying away from fish for almost 20 years, it turned me back on to Sushi and eating seafood in general when you took me there for the first time about 5 years ago. Salmon and other fish are now a normal part of my diet thanks to Nozawa. Cheers to Nozawa and his legacy.
Reply
:iconspyed:
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
just saw this post...

yah man! the guy had one hell of an impact on the city... it's been a few months already, i totally miss the hell out of that place.
Reply
:iconkyzerkech:
KyzerKech Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2012   General Artist
<3 tha lady's beautiful 8U and aww to the place closing. all the best to them~
Reply
:iconthewanderer2030:
TheWanderer2030 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
Great little story, wish i could have eaten there!
Reply
:iconekud:
ekud Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ah man, I remember the dinner we had there - easily best sushi I ever had. Glad I got to have it (and share it with you!) before he retired. Amazing.
Reply
:iconspyed:
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
just saw this... good times!!!

how ya been?
Reply
:iconekud:
ekud Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Good man. Miss ya. Would love to talk.
Reply
:iconchottapride:
CHOTTAPRIDE Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012
so have you ever cooked a carb roll before
Reply
:iconspyed:
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
myself? no i haven't... i took some sushi classes once and i made sushi on a beach from fresh fish another time... but that's about the extent of my sushi chefing.
Reply
:iconchad:
Chad Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012
moving.
Reply
:icontimeherokaiser:
TimeHeroKaiser Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
shame he retired... I hope he lives happily though.
Reply
:iconsockhiddenunderarook:
sockhiddenunderarook Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
 
Reply
:iconmarquise:
Marquise Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012   General Artist
Hmmmmm... Mmmmm....

Hope you'll meet them again. And also that the tradition don't get lost in the familly.
Reply
:icondannscreations:
DAnnsCreations Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
:wow: Wonderful article! :blowkiss: uuummmm :sushi:
Reply
:iconascher-malachi:
Ascher-Malachi Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Me Myself and I think it is a nice show of honor toward the Chef and the nostalgia that will reman. *tips hat* tis but a shame an era ends.

P.S. Pahness,
This is called free speech and also personal conviction. It is respectable as a Deviation in it's own right
Reply
:iconbahar1:
Bahar1 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
@ Lolly The Blocking Drama Queen: I'm so sick of seeing you on all of Sotira's posts calling other users morons and blocking them o_o You are being the moron who makes the community worse by doing that. And you're talking about free speech! Loser material you are.
Reply
:iconascher-malachi:
Ascher-Malachi Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I didn't mean the reply wasn't Freedom of speech, just that it was a troll reply is all. It was nice of Spyed to show his own appreciation for a different type of artist, A sushi chef. I personally find food as much a deviation or art as anything on paper, or made out of pewter or other material.
Reply
:iconlolly:
lolly Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012
And what she said is free speech as well.

Also if you want to reply directly to someone so they actually see it, use the reply button.


Moron.
Reply
:iconjillauville:
JillAuville Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
<sigh>
an LA sushi chef retires and you not only give him a letter praising him AND yourself to hell and back, you publish a goddamn dA journal about it WITH a copy/paste of the letter where you praise the sushi chef AND yourself to hell and back.
what IS that?!
what the hell kinda behavior do you call that..?
what does it have to do with this?! <points to dA>
why not write a journal about something that fucking matters for a change.
because no, YOU do not matter whatsoever. not one damn bit.
YOU are nothing.
WE, the members, are everything.
without us, you'd be NOTHING.
without us, you wouldn't even be able to afford the cheap ass sushi offered at the deli counter at safeway.
you should have put THAT in your letter...
Reply
:iconevil-e33:
Evil-e33 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:icongoogleplus1plz: :iconfacebooklikeplz:
:iconfuckyeaplz:
Reply
:iconlolly:
lolly Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
:iconfblikeplz:
Reply
:iconlolly:
lolly Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
:happycry:
Reply
:iconlolly:
lolly Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
This place was awesome and I recall when you brought me there, and that remains a fond memory. But *sigh* really dude? You can't just say thanks and pay tribute to something you loved without finding a way to pat yourself on the back?

The kind of praise you slipped in for yourself is the sort of praise you don't bestow upon yourself. Outsiders give this. It's like picking your own nickname and trying to convince people to call you that.


This is why myself and others are having a hard time relating to you and view you as narcissistic and egotistical. Comparing what you do to a tradition hundreds upon hundreds of years old...lol it's an internet COMPANY. It does typical internet things and is run like a typical company. I'm sorry dude, but when I began reading this I was genuinely stoked but as soon as I saw you find some room to praise yourself...I gagged.
Reply
:iconmudimba:
mudimba Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist
Haha, I remember you giving Sasha and me that lecture in the car when we went there the first time we met to discuss Draw Here. After reading that letter, I am honored to know that we made the cut. Thank you for giving us the chance to experience such a great place.
Reply
:iconrandomduck:
randomduck Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
Yes! I dont remember much of that time, but I do remember the lecture word-by-word as written here 6 years later! And food of course.
Reply
:iconlossetta932:
lossetta932 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
aww your retiring sushi shef looks nice :) so do you and your gf! you look so happy 2gether!!
Reply
:iconspyed:
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
=D
Reply
:iconlossetta932:
lossetta932 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
^.^
Reply
:iconsoulking05:
soulking05 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome background!
Reply
:iconwind-kamikaze:
Wind-Kamikaze Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012   Artist
Aww...Nice Ninja background.XD!!
Reply
:iconquolia:
Quolia Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That is so sweet :heart: Though, it is always sad to see a place you love close :aww:
Reply
:iconknightmonx:
knightmonx Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Student General Artist
Aww it's always sad to see favorite places close. I used to like to go to my local video store to rent videos. It was fun to brows the dvds and games and pick up a few on discount. Now they closed down it's such a boring place.
You always will remember that last piece of sushi, just like I'll remember my last visit to the video store. And you will look back and smile because at least you got to experience it brief gift that it was.
Reply
:iconann-mclaren:
Ann-McLaren Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice.
Reply
:iconamordragon:
amordragon Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Bravo. :)
Reply
:iconarichy:
Arichy Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
nice :heart:
Reply
:iconenzudes1gn:
EnzuDes1gn Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
damn you for making hungry and craze sushi :shakefish: ...






Amazing chef indeed, nicely written :)
Reply
:iconthescorpionlord:
TheScorpionLord Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thats really neat man, It is unfortunate that I didnt hear of his restaurant til now, considering I just moved into to town to better my career and network as an artist. I have always enjoyed and admired the eastern ways ancient to modern and the very least, appreciated it. Thats very cool :).
Reply
:iconbloodewulf:
Bloodewulf Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012
thats cool. I love sushi too :D
Reply
:iconfiskxphantom:
FiskXPhantom Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Student General Artist
That's really sweet. :aww:
Reply
:iconrealm-of-the-shadows:
Realm-Of-The-Shadows Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist Interface Designer
will you be there for the new shop?
Reply
:icongunnut51:
Gunnut51 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Very nice homage you had for your favorite chef. I hope whoever takes over can be worthy of his legacy.
Reply
:iconmiloticscale:
MiloticScale Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Whoa, nice!
Reply
:iconresaturatez:
Resaturatez Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That was a really cool story. I didn't know there was a sushi Nazi!
Reply
:iconushio-akuma:
Ushio-Akuma Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That was a really nice letter and journal. I've never had the chance to meet him, but I really want to now. He seems like an amazing individual. Thanks so much for sharing!
Reply
:icongariandos:
Gariandos Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Farewell, Chef Nozawa, may your years of retirement be long and plenty.
Reply
:iconjezzychan:
JezzyChan Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aw, I'm sorry he retired. But I hope he has a wonderful life in retirement. ^^
Reply
:iconnativeamericanarts:
NativeAmericanArts Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Thats to bad. Whos taking over as chef now?
Reply
:iconspyed:
spyed Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
not sure ;)
Reply
:icon4everyoungkid:
4EverYoungKid Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012
:leetcrab:
Reply
:iconspyed:
spyed Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
haha how would you write "crab hand roll" in emote? :)
Reply
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