Shigeru Kitano is the calm center of the bustling restaurant floor. He floats around his sushi sous chefs, quietly encouraging and directing, all while acknowledging familiar guests with a reverent bow and effortlessly creating masterpieces such as SUSHISAMBA’s seviches or signature rolls.
Born in Sapporo, Japan, Chef Kitano came to the craft of sushi simply by loving it as a child. “I remember being excited about the culinary tradition and the bold flavors of the sushi,” he explains. “From the very start, I knew that I wanted to practice this historic culinary art.” Chef Kitano’s first foray into a sushi kitchen was at a tiny restaurant owned by a family friend. Chef Kitano recalls his experience at Kisaku Sushi, “At first, all I could do was help around the restaurant, but I stayed there six years and was able to make a place for myself.”
Upon leaving Kisaku Sushi, Chef Kitano followed the arduous path of many sushi chefs, working under five Sushi Masters as an apprentice for the next ten years. “I learned a little bit from each one, and each one had a personal approach to sushi that I could respect.” Developing his own approach, Kitano’s style veers toward the traditional. “It took thousands of years for Japanese Sushi Masters to create the most perfect and pristine sushi and sashimi,” Chef Kitano says, “and I honor their dedication by making my sushi according to this traditional style.”
Traveling to Chicago, Chef Kitano worked at Hatsuana and Kamachi for 13 years before joining SUSHISAMBA Chicago.