— Diego Oka is the Executive Chef at La Mar Miami.
The Chefs Connection: Did you go to culinary school? If so, where?
Diego Oka: Yes, Institu Paul Bousse, USIL, Lima
TCC: What restaurants have you worked at?
DO: Ichi ban Japanesse Restaurant, La mar Lima, La mar Colombia, La mar San francisco, La mar Miami!
TCC: What was your first job in food?
DO: Dish washer at the Japanese restaurant in lima (ichiban)
TCC: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
DO: A Dentist.
TCC: What’s your favorite thing about being a chef?
DO: That you can make a lot of thing and participate in different areas! Been able to move around!
TCC: Did you have an “aha” moment when you knew you wanted to be a chef?
DO: Not an specific one, but as I know my weaknesses I know what im good in, and when you fell the passion, that means you are on the right path.
TCC: Best advice you ever got?
DO: Never follow the money, the money follows you! (Chef Hiro Nakagawa).
TCC: What’s your favorite ingredient?
TCC: What ingredient turns you off the most?
DO: Truffle oil
TCC: What’s your favorite tool in the kitchen?
TCC: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not cooking?
DO: Ceramics, pottery!
TCC: What would you like to do before you get too old to do it?
DO: I do everything that comes as opportunities and adventures, I never leave the experiences for later! So I don’t know…
TCC: Tell us a deep dark secret (doesn’t have to be food related).
DO: No secrets
TCC: How do you deal with the stress?
DO: Im still looking for the solution! But I meditate!
TCC: Who would you like to meet?
DO: No one in particular. I love the people im surrounded don’t need more!
TCC: What was the hardest thing for you to learn? Or is there something you just can’t get right?
DO: To speak Japanese!
TCC: Is there some little something you do for your family to make up for the time you’re not with them?
DO: I talked to the by phone everyday!
TCC: How did becoming a chef change your life? Your direction.
DO: It didn’t change my life, is something I enjoy doing it!
TCC: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
DO: Making amazing friends!
TCC: What is your goal? Your own restaurant if you don’t have one? Lots of restaurants? Something else?
DO: To have a restaurant where I can have fun and have my own pottery brand design by me!
TCC: Please give us a cooking tip that people might not know like “adding a little bit of oil to butter so it doesn’t burn.”
DO: Ill give you my grandmas cooking tip, when you make potato cake (Peruvian papa rellena) do not look at it to much because it breaks! Awesome tip and actually it works!