The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 34 of 132

AGRI-FOOD-CULTURE Farm to Sushi H iro & Company, the parent company for Sushi Den, Izakaya Den and the Den Farm (all in and around Denver, Colorado), is owned by Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, whose mission is to preserve, translate and share their culture's food and beverages with their customers. Fresh ingredients and trained chefs are paramount in achieving this goal. Koichi, the youngest Kizaki brother, resides next to the fish market in Nagahama, a major fishing port in south- ern Japan. "Our fish is hand-selected by Koichi," says Toshi. "It is inspected in and imported from Japan so that we can offer the best quality to our customers in Denver." At his farm in Brighton, Colorado, Toshi operates a passive solar greenhouse that is used for year-round vegetable production. "Improving sustainable business practices is one of our goals," he says. The Den Farm, managed by Sukenobu "Nobi" Sakai, includes automated temperature, light- sensitive shutters and a hybrid geo-thermal climate control that makes it unique. Toshi has also started to build a new home for Izakaya Den right next to Sushi Den. "In this way, we streamline our qual- ity control and increase customer service. From the farm, we post updates of farm life to keep our customers connected. THE KIZAKE FAMILY BRINGS JAPANESE FOOD AND BEVERAGE TO DENVER by Ben Weinberg / photos by Kevin Moloney We tweet twice a day to inform our customer of the 'Catch of the Day' as well as our daily specials." Toshi's extensive saké and drink menus also provide the perfect accompaniment for any season or dish. The Kizakis are fortunate to have many experienced personnel at the restaurant who provide a top-notch learning environment for the entire staff. Michiko is the baker and creates many of the desserts on the restaurant's menus. Toshi himself helms the sushi line four nights a week, specializing in omakase, which offers other chefs an opportunity to work directly with guests and their individual tastes. Education at the highest level is supplemented by bringing trainers and chefs from Japan and taking the staff to the Den Farm for field trips. Yasu also teaches a sushi-making class once a week for guests and occasionally invites the staff to join in. The Kizakis have something special going on in Denver. When asked for one piece of advice for a young person consid- ering the creation of restaurants and food brands, Toshi is quick to say,"If you don't love what you do, then no one else will. You must fall in love with your career. We chose to share our passion for life and all good things through our restaurants." Toshi Kizaki's Brighton, Colorado farm supplies produce for his on-premise operations. 34 / the tasting panel / september 2012

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