Masa: The Creation of a Master Chef
In soccer, there's Pele. In music, there's Madonna. When it comes to chefs, one of the most prominent one---name wonders is Masa, owner of the restaurant of the same name in New York. Not only for its proprietor's reputation but for its vaunted menu, Masa is a Luxist nominee in the best domestic fine dining category.
Chef Masa didn't always have just one name---he was born Masa Takayama, son of a family of seven, in Tochigi, Japan. He learned cooking as a child, working for his parents' catering business and fish shop. After high school, Masa found a job at Ginza Sushi-ko in Tokyo, working his way up from dishwasher to sushi chef. He moved to Los Angeles in 1980, eventually opening his own restaurant.
In 2004, Masa sold his Los Angeles eatery and headed east to launch an eponymous restaurant in New York's Time Warner Center. Since then, his establishment has earned numerous accolades including three Michelin stars. There are no menus at Masa---just the chef's whims---and diners are served five appetizers before a sushi entrée, flown fresh from Japan.
For the honor of dining at Masa, guests must pay $400 each, excluding alcohol, tax and tip. Diners on a tighter budget can order à la carte from the adjoining Bar Masa, where meals can be had for a quarter of the price of the menu next door.
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