From Tokyo to Mumbai: How Maestro Chef Koji Sagawa is Crafting Japanese Culinary Alchemy
From Tokyo to Mumbai: How Maestro Chef Koji Sagawa is Crafting Japanese Culinary Alchemy

In the bustling streets of Mumbai, where the fragrance of diverse cuisines mingles with the city's vibrant spirit, a gastronomic spectacle is unfolding. Chef Koji Sagawa, hailing from the esteemed Iki in Dubai, has brought his 39-year mastery of sushi to Akina's pop-up, creating a culinary journey that transcends continents and delights the senses.

Chef Sagawa's journey into the delicate craft of sushi commenced in his childhood, where an early fascination with the intricate artistry of sushi craftsmanship laid the foundation for a lifelong passion. Graduating high school marked the initiation of a remarkable 39-year odyssey dedicated to perfecting the nuances of this revered culinary art.

The intricate dance of flavors and textures that defines Chef Sagawa's cuisine has been shaped by experiences at renowned establishments, including Bvlgari Resorts and Residences in Dubai, Sushi Iwa, and Masami Sushi in Japan. Rooted in extensive training in Japan, his skills with seasonal fish and ingredients have evolved, making him not only a culinary maestro but also an advocate for effective resource utilization as a restaurant head.

The collaboration with Akina in Mumbai for this special pop-up is a fusion of culinary finesse and a shared commitment to promoting Japanese culinary traditions. Chef Sagawa emphasizes, "The decision to collaborate with Akina in Mumbai was driven by the commendable efforts of Akina in promoting Japanese cuisine in Mumbai and across India." The ongoing pop-up serves as an opportunity to introduce Japanese Edomae sushi Omakase to a new audience, transcending mere gastronomic delight to a cultural exchange.

Understanding the diverse palate of Indian customers, Chef Sagawa's goal is deceptively simple: to offer a delightful Edomae Sushi experience. Each element is crafted with meticulous care, ensuring that the journey from plate to palate is a memorable one, resonating with the cultural nuances of Japanese dining.

As Chef Sagawa gazes into the future, his predictions for trends in the Japanese cuisine business reflect a commitment to continuous innovation and the exploration of the culinary cutting edge. Intrigued by the fusion of projection mapping and food, his dynamic approach to gastronomy showcases an openness to novel ideas that redefine the dining experience.


While the ongoing pop-up at Akina unfolds, Chef Sagawa expresses a genuine eagerness to embrace local Indian ingredients and techniques, not just as a culinary exploration but as a means to connect with the rich tapestry of the local culinary landscape.

Beyond the gastronomic spectacle, the Iki Omakase pop-up is a collaborative space, where knowledge, skills, and experiences are shared between Iki and Akina. Chef Sagawa envisions a platform fostering a sense of community and mutual learning, transcending the boundaries of a conventional culinary event.

As the pop-up seamlessly weaves the culinary threads of Japan and India, celebrating the beauty of cultural exchange through the universal language of food, Chef Sagawa's straightforward concept comes to life: mutual understanding and respect for each other's traditional food culture. The ongoing Akina pop-up becomes more than just a dining experience; it's a journey into the soul of Japanese culinary heritage, shared with the vibrant city of Mumbai.

Chef Koji Sagawa, reflecting on the fusion of culinary traditions, remarks, "This pop-up is not just a convergence of flavors; it's a dialogue between two rich culinary histories. Mumbai's vibrant food scene meets the precision and elegance of Japanese Edomae sushi, creating an experience that goes beyond the plate." His words capture the essence of the ongoing pop-up, portraying it as a dynamic exchange where every bite narrates a story of cultural convergence.

As the culinary odyssey continues, Chef Sagawa shares his anticipation for the cultural impact of the ongoing pop-up, stating, "I believe that food is a universal language that has the power to build bridges. Through this pop-up, we aim to create lasting connections between Japanese and Indian culinary traditions, fostering a sense of appreciation and understanding that extends far beyond the duration of the event." With these words, Chef Sagawa emphasizes the transformative potential of the ongoing collaboration, envisioning a culinary legacy that leaves an indelible mark on Mumbai's gastronomic landscape.

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