In this week's food section, Tim Carman has written an engrossing profile of Toki Underground chef Erik Bruner-Yang, which chronicles his journey from musician to manager to chef.
If you talk to Bruner-Yang's friends and family, they'll tell you that although he may have left music behind, many of the skills that pushed Pash to the brink of success are the same ones that have taken Toki all the way there (and may bode well for Maketto, too): his discipline. His creativity. His drive. And, perhaps most important of all, his willingness to take risks, even when the self-taught chef had virtually no idea what he was doing. Sounds like rock 'n' roll to me.
The article goes back to the cook's childhood and also gives a sense of what's to come from Bruner-Yang's upcoming, ambitious Maketto project. Here are a few takeaways.
· Pash, the band Erik Bruner-Yang played in before he became a chef, was a favorite of the Olsen Twins.
· The chef moved around in childhood from Taiwan to California to Japan to Woodbridge, often due to his stepfather's job as a Navy journalist.
· Toki hit a financial shortfall before opening, due to construction delays, and a sympathetic landlord and surprise angel investor helped allow it to open. As he worked to open the restaurant, Bruner-Yang didn't drink for two years.
· In the beginning, Toki had no set recipes for its ramen.
· James Wozniuk will serve as chef de cuisine at the upcoming Maketto, cooking up everything from Chinese doughnuts to pork buns. About a dozen dishes will be served daily, but the menu will rotate frequently.
· Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang Sets Sights on a Bigger Stage [WaPo]
· All Previous Erik Bruner-Yang Coverage [-EDC-]