Bamboo Sushi opened in Avanti, about 2 blocks from my house earlier this summer. Avanti is a sort of community food hall meets restaurant icubator where each restaurant is housed in a repurposed shipping container. The main spaces merge into open sitting, two community bars, as well as two rooftop patios with killer views of Downtown Denver. Cocktails include local distillers and there are of course lots of local breweries’s beers on tap. My favorite drink is called the Happy Wood and it is Cranberry Lavender Kombucha from local kombucha company, Happy Leaf, and Woody Creek Gin out of Aspen, Colorado. And as luck would have it you can currently see me in the September issue of ELLE magazine holding said drink next to a beautiful spread of Bamboo sushi on the rooftop of Avanti. Of course I would make my national fashion magazine debut with a cocktail in hand… I mean, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Please pick up a copy of the September issue of ELLE magazine and read the article I am fatured in Style Across America.
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Business Love: Bamboo Sushi
Tell me about your background, both professionally and personally.
Professionally I’ve only had 2 occupations in my life. I was a janitor for a year and other than that I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 18 years. Personally I am first generation here in America and my parents immigrated from Korea. I was raised in Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. I’ve lived in Oregon for 8 years and now I will be back and forth between Colorado and Oregon. I love the outdoors and love running restaurants.
More on my background, I started at the age of 15 in a high volume seafood restaurant. I loved the organized chaos and the intensity of kitchens. I worked a couple of restaurants in N.C. Then decided to go to Johnson and Wales in Charleston South Carolina. I graduated with a culinary and a business degrees and had the opportunity to work with Chef Bob Waggoner and Chef Michelle Weaver at Charleston Grill. After deciding to move to Portland, Oregon I had another great opportunity to work with Chef Gregory Gourdet at Departure. After Departure I found a home at Bamboo Sushi.
What inspired you to open Bamboo Sushi in Denver?
Avanti was a great opportunity to get us in a well known amazing location. I see it as getting to know someone, a slow introduction and making sure both parties chemistry is right (Avanti space) before we move into full on dating (brick and mortar). We want to be an integral part of the growth of Denver and have a long lasting relationship with the city.
Can you explain what sustainable seafood is?
Sustainable seafood has many definitions from person to person. Sustainability can be wild caught or farmed raised. We have multiple ways of looking at our products before we source them for the restaurants. Through certain partnerships such as Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch and Marine Stewardship Council we collect a lot of data from those resources. Beyond that we personally do a lot of research on many different aspects from biomass on the oceans to the practices used for farming practices. I believe the inspiration stems from doing something exceptional that changes the world we live in. I like to look at it as a duty that impacts every individual on this planet. The more we do to help and educate the individuals the more people we have caring for our oceans.
I love the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi and the intense strive for perfection he found in his craft. His relationship to making the best sushi was very meditative. Do any of these traits carry over into your kitchen?
That was a beautiful movie portraying a single mans drive and motivation of being the best. Here at Bamboo we strive to be the best we can be everyday. Perfection is something we strive for in everything we do. Since perfection is something that can never be attained we keep pushing towards it everyday and never settle for good enough. I’m very focused on the food but another main focus is our culture in which we have an environment of growth and making better people not just better food.
Do you have any current plans on expansion for Bamboo Sushi Denver?
Yes we have a brick and mortar in the works in lo-hi, near Postini’s and William and Graham. We also have future plans with growth in and outside of Denver.
What is your favorite spot to eat at in the LoHi neighborhood when you are not at Bamboo Sushi?
To be fair I haven’t been out too much here in Denver. I have found Old Major, and it would be my favorite in the neighborhood. I’ve been a multiple time and the food is alway stellar and the service is great!
What is your favorite thing about living in Denver?
My favorite thing on Denver is the beauty of the city and its surroundings. The people here are very polite and I see why people are moving here.
What’s your favorite drink/cocktail?
I’m a simple person and mainly drink reposado tequila. I like it neat NO lime or salt or in a simple tequila cocktail.
What is your favorite meal other than sushi?
My favorite food outside of sushi is N.C. Bbq and of course anything my mother makes. My mother is an excellent Korean cook so I can never get enough of her cooking.
Well we will definitely have to share some reposado sometime, and I definitely know where the good NC BBQ is in Denver.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it” Bill Gates
What does contemporary bohemian mean to you?
I would say it represents the growth of the new generation and the generations behind them. The new generation figuring out how to maximize life without working as hard as their parents. As the saying goes work smarter not harder.
I would like to add my thanks to Among the Colors for this great opportunity. A grand thanks to the city of Denver to welcoming us with open arms. Lastly a big thank you to the teams that make Bamboo Sushi great!