Executive Chef at Kasa Moto Michael Parubocki
There’s no doubt in the Toronto food scene that Japanese restaurant Kasa Moto is the most sophisticated sushi place in Yorkville. In addition to serving up high-quality Japanese eats, this 400-seat restaurant (with one of the best summer patios in town) is known to deliver exceptional service and setting, as well as creating an elegant atmosphere that makes you feel free to indulge. In today’s Chef Talk we’re introducing you to a master of this delicate art – Michael Parubocki. Michael is an Executive Chef at Kasa Moto, always at the top of his game and dedicated to working with the freshest seasonal ingredients.
When did you start working at Kasa Moto and how do you like it now?
May 25th was the date when we opened the doors at Kasa Moto. And I actually came into the Chase Hospitality Group about a month prior to that. When I started with the Chase Group we did not have much time to open this restaurant. I came in the beginning of April and there were so many things to get done prior to the opening. We did some research and had a trip to Miami to check out some contemporary Japanese restaurants in South Beach. So when we got back, we were just like ‘let’s go for it’. Now we have huge volume and 400 seats at Kasa Moto, which, at first, was so unbelievable and overwhelming in a very positive way.
What do you think has been a key to your success?
The key to my or our success is staying focused on the things that we want to do, which, at the end of the day, is still delivering the very best product to our guests. Our guests come first. Without them we have no restaurant. Also, creating positive and great environment for our staff is really important as well.
Do you have many celebrities coming here?
Yes, we’ve got a lot of famous people here, many Toronto-based athletes. I think the reason they enjoy coming here is the level of discretion we use when they come here. We don’t allow guests to take photos and post on social media. Personal privacy is important.
Do you have any favourite recipe or dish that you like to cook the most?
That’s a very tough question. It’s like picking your favourite child, as you love them all. That’s how I feel about the food on our menus. It’s all been created and crafted to our specification in a way that we feel our guests are going to enjoy. I’ve picked a couple of our signature dishes for you to try today.
What do you think is the most important ingredient in sushi?
It’s definitely the rice. It is the most important part of sushi by far. The fish is a very big component as well. Being as busy as we are, we have luxury of bringing in the best fish possible and regularly. If you ever see a slow sushi restaurant that’s a sign to stay away. But at that level where we are, we are doing such high volume, it means we are bringing fresh fish so regularly that is always the finest quality.
What are some common mistakes that people make when eating sushi?
The first one that comes to mind is more related to chopsticks: you should never point your chopsticks at someone – it’s a very bad luck. Another common mistake is mixing their wasabi into the soy. Here we make our own soy, we age is for 6 months which really builds a lot of flavour and character. So when you add wasabi to that, it messes all the flavour. Also, when you are eating nigiri (rice and piece of sashimi on top) the very big and most common mistake people make all the time is that they dig the rice part into the soy, when they are only supposed to dig the tip of the fish and eat it. Because we spend so much time perfecting and fussing over the rice – which is seasoned – that you don’t want to mess with that. The last one is when people top the sushi with pickled ginger. It’s meant to enjoy in-between bites.
Dashi broth, ramen noodles, pickled daikon, roasted pumpkin, heirloom carrots, roasted pork shoulder, garlic oil, chilli oil
KASA MOTO ROLL
Spicy scallop, lobster, salmon, cucumber, tobiko, spicy mayo and micro seedlings
Salmon, tuna, yellow tail
Roasted shiitake mushrooms, pickled daikon radish, shiro umeshu sauce, turnip chips
Karashi (japanese hot mustard) miso – potato puree, spaghetti squash, mushroom, onion, cabbage, chilli garlic sauce, crispy chicken skin, seedlings
Lavender Gin, Lemon Juice, Coconut Water, Egg White
(created by Lija Said)
TIME FOR YOISHO (on the right)
Prosecco, Elderflower infused Vodka, Bergamot, Plum, Apricot
(created by Dessa Harhay)
ORIGAMI IN FLIGHT (on the left)
Bourbon, Kumquat Cordial, Lemon Juice, Green Chartreuse
(created by Brian Conway)
Tumeric Gin, Coconut Water, Lemongrass Syrup, Yuzu
(created by Lija Said)