Izumi Sasaki Durrant
Chief Cooking Instructor
Izumi hails from Japan but calls Hong Kong home. Her cooking experience and motivation started from the early days of helping her mother, who was an excellent cook, around the kitchen. Her parents also loved entertaining people with good food and drinks and this was how Izumi got hooked on hospitality.
Another large influence on her cooking was all the traveling she got to do working as a flight purser for Cathay Pacific. She has lived in the U.S,Spain and India. And while there, she immersed herself in the local ingredients, cuisine and culture.
Izumi is a self-taught Chef and is well versed in western as well as her own native Japanese culinary techniques, albeit she likes to add her own twists to them. She was a food consultant for a food company, creating and testing recipes, and ran her own catering company. Her formal culinary training also includes a stint at Yard Bird’s Ronin restaurant.
Izumi’s style is best described as meticulous and straight from the heart. She loves to cook any type of foods, and especially using herbs and spices. Her life mission is to tirelessly travel and taste all the cuisines the world has to offer. An avid wine lover, Izumi also holds an advanced certificate in WSET, Wine & Spirit Education Trust. A voracious reader yet outdoorsy, Izumi’s hobbies also include Trail walking.
Chi was born in Vietnam and grew up in North Carolina, USA, and is very experienced with Thai & Vietnamese cooking. She has a deep passion for food and it's evident in her cooking. Chi has worked extensively in the food industry since her teenage years, from front of the house to sausage making and catering. Chi appreciates efficient and fuss-free techniques in cooking but she tirelessly strives for perfection. This includes working hard on testing all our recipes to make them even more delicious and achieve "fool proof" status.
Chi got a serious case of travel fever after graduating from college. Her first stop was Hong Kong where she met her husband. They weren't ready to settle down in one place so they spent the first 5 years roaming all over the world introducing Chi's taste buds to new & exotic cuisines. Their last stop was Chiangmai, Thailand where their daughter was born and the family resided there for 11 years. She is fortunate to have a daughter who looks forward to trying out her mom's new dishes, a very willing guinea pig. She drives her husband crazy when memories of her travels revolve around what she ate at that particular location. It wasn't the history or the architecture, it was simply what her taste buds remember! She knew her 'problem' was actually a gift.
Chi is a member of the Mui Wo choir and her eclectic hobbies include belly dancing and she can be frequently seen hiking the hills of Lantau Island on her days off. On Sundays, she is stage mom at Corner Kitchen Cafe where her talented daughter Jazz often performs singing and playing the guitar.