Toshitaka Kasseki, chef and owner of Sosaku Dining Kasseki, was born and raised in Hiroshima. After high school, he joined the defence force in Kyoto. After retiring from service 4 years later, he worked part-time at an auto-maintenance factory while doing a dish-washing job with his friend in a sushi restaurant at night. He ended up joining the sushi restaurant where his professional restaurant career started. He also enrolled in culinary school and, as recommended by his teacher, he moved to Tokyo in 1989 for more hands-on professional experiences. He developed and diversified his passion for cooking through an airline catering service in Chiba and franchise izakaya in Kanagawa, in 1991, he became an assistant chef at a Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong.
While spending another 2 years at the Hong Kong Jockey Club as a sushi chef, he met a hotel owner from Niseko then moved to Niseko in 2009. After assisting in the launch of several new restaurants including the Barn as well as serving in Hilton Niseko and Windsor hotel, he finally opened a restaurant of his own.
What were your first impressions of Niseko?
Almost like Little Hong Kong. However, I saw more potential in Niseko, especially with its impeccable four seasons and beautiful nature.
What do you think about the customers in Niseko?
I really enjoy having them here, most of them know deeply about Japanese food.
What are your thoughts on local Hokkaido ingredients?
I love it, especially the fact that we have a large selection of fresh seafood here, compared to Hong Kong. You can find surprisingly fresh hokke (atka mackerel) and scallops at local supermarkets. However, during winter I wish there was more variety for Hokkaido ingredients instead of heavily relying on the vegetables from Honshu.
Please tell us about chef’s special dish at Kasseki.
I have Spider rolls, Crazy Potato Salad, Japanese Eel Rolled Omelette, and Banbanji Salad.
What are you doing in summer?
My work is like my hobby, but I go hiking and searching for Japanese edible wild plants.
Please tell us about your dreams for the future.
I would like to introduce the great taste of Hokkaido all around the world.