Robin Kirkley

Brand Storyteller

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The Nikkei Boys - Britain's Newest Chef Duo

Topic

Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul are the Nikkei Boys - Britain's newest celebrity chef duo and chief evangelists in the UK for the Japanese/Peruvian fusion known as Nikkei Cuisine.

Jordan is Executive Chef for the NZR Restaurant Group, which owns the wildly popular Chotto Matte (Nikkei Cuisine) in London's Soho district (Dubai and Miami opening soon); Bouillabaisse (Coastal Cuisine) in London's exclusive Mayfair district; and various French and Italian outlets strategically located throughout London.

Michael is Head Chef at Chotto Matte, and is a favourite of many international celebrities.

Their Story

This is a Coming of Age story. After years of professional training under some of the best known chefs in world-famous restaurants, Jordan and Michael are striking out on their own as celebrity chefs in their own right. They have become recognised as the top Nikkei chefs in the UK, and are now preparing for an official launch of their brand.

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Jordan and Michael met at University in London, where they were both studying to become professional chefs. They have remained best friends ever since.

Even though they went their separate ways to serve apprenticeships, they always had an audacious dream to become celebrity chefs in their own right. Between them they served under Gordon Ramsay, Phillip Carrick, and David Cavalier, amongst others. They also worked their way up the ladder at iconic British establishments such as The Savoy Hotel, The Nobu Group, The Budda Bar, Aqua Kyoto, The Royal Automobile Club and Charlton House.

Their contrasting personalities are partly what make up their 'secret sauce' that appeals to so many.

Jordan is creative, bold, and a calculating risk-taker. He is at once entertaining but obviously a thorough professional. Everyone wants to learn from him.

Michael is quieter and more methodical, and is known as the 'king of sauces and seasonings.' But just as you realise that Jordan has been doing all the talking, Michael will interject with a dry hilarity that instantly brings the house tumbling down in uncontrollable laughter.

Jordan and Michael both believe passionately that the world would be a better place having experienced the captivating flavours of the Nikkei Cuisine. Nikkei offers a broad range of flavours to the palate. It has been called 'a synthesis of sushi of the land and sushi of the sea.' Essentially, Peruvian and Japanese cuisines have fused over the last century or so and evolved into the Nikkei Cuisine. 

Jordan describes their mission to make Nikkei a destination cuisine by stating that they will have succeeded when people say, "Shall we go for an Italian tonight? Nah, I fancy a Nikkei." He notes that "...Nikkei has given the London food scene a new spirit. It's the next generation of eating. It doesn't have to be fine dining, it just has to be bright and powerful. It has to be a party in your mouth."

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But the journey has been far from smooth. For years Nikkei was seen as a strange mixture of tastes from an obscure South American country - Peru. Their exhortations as young chefs fell on the deaf ears of bosses who demanded whatever was the current flavour of the month. Successful establishments don't seem to take risks too easily, and certainly not from apprentices, however up-and-coming.

The Boys both had young families to feed so they plugged away in their respective kitchens, learning every trick and twist from their famous mentors. Then they would meet in the pub for a pint and talk about their Nikkei dream. They first 'wowed' friends and family, then slowly sneaked their bursting flavours in front of unsuspecting celebrities. Everyone fell in love, and the Boys just knew they were on to something.

They say that 'luck' is when preparation meets opportunity. Their 'lucky' break came when Jordan and Michael met Kurt Zdesar - the legendary restauranteur who was the driving force in the Nobu Restaurant Group. Kurt had been a disciple of the Nikkei Cuisine for over 20 years, and in a moment of collective inspiration the concept for Chotto Matte was born.

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Kurt Zdesar

The dream became a reality in 2014 when Kurt and the Nikkei Boys opened the doors to the first Chotto Matte restaurant in the pulsing heart of London's fashionable Soho district.

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Chotto Matte has put the Nikkei Cuisine firmly on the culinary map in the UK. Journalists, celebrities, politicians of all stripes, foodies and a growing public appetite for 'Nikkei' ensure that all 10,000 sq ft of Chotto are packed to the rafters 7 days a week. 

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Typical lunchtime at Chotto Matte in Soho.

Jordan and Michael now host the Chefs Forum, an initiative to train Nikkei chefs who will be deployed throughout the land. 

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Nikkei Chefs in training

Kurt is currently opening Chotto Matte restaurants in Dubai and Miami. They will apparently dwarf the London site and are being keenly anticipated locally.

Jordan and Michael encourage anyone with a dream to believe 100% in their vision (no less); to keep the passion for it burning brightly within, even in the darkest moments (it helps to have a partner); to work damn hard but allow yourself to enjoy being creative; AND TO HAVE FUN.

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