Restaurants Brighton in Q & A with Mike Dodd
Born in Japan, Mike Dodd (or Masao Mitsuishi) moved to England at the age of 7. His life long passion in food and Japanese cuisine led him to open his first restaurant, Oki-Namiin Hove in 1994. 2008 saw Mike re-locate the restaurant to the buzzing seaside town of Brighton, this time with regular customer and friend, Norman Cook (FatBoy Slim) as co-owner.
Oki-Nami – which means Big Wave in Japanese, a dedication for Mike’s love for the ocean
Did you cook when you were growing up?
Most definitely. Growing up in the old seaside port town Kamakura in Japan, is where my curiosity and love for food all began. As a child, I delighted in watching my mother cook simple fresh and local ingredients and transforming them into something beautiful and delicious.
Like most growing boys, I had quite an appetite, which led to me experimenting most days in the kitchen to satisfy my endless hunger!
I’d say that the simplicity of my mother’s dishes really translates into my cooking style today – there is very much a focus on simplicity, the very freshest and local ingredients and really drawing out the very best from every ingredient we use.
Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
Many of my chef friends avoid their home kitchens, but I spend a lot of time in mine when I’m not in the restaurant.
I encourage my family and friends (and even the waitresses in the restaurant have the opportunity to try their hand at making Gyoza and Sushi so they grasp the fundamental aspects of Japanese cuisine) to cook for themselves at home!
My advice to home enthusiasts is this. Know your ingredients, learn how to get the very best out of every ingredient you use.
Whether you are slicing something very fine to release the natural sweetness, or cutting a vegetable so that it has the maximum amount of edges for optimum taste when being caramelised, I think it is very important that you get to grips with your ingredients to really reach the full potential flavour and texture of the ingredient.
Favourite kitchen gadget?
I’m not ashamed to admit that our kitchen at Oki-Nami is fairly basic, you won’t find the latest technology or gadgets there – They are simply unnecessary for our style of cooking! In fact, my favourite kitchen ‘gadget’ would have to be my sushi knife. This is my essential piece of kit and is integral to everything I do in my kitchen – the simplicity of our kitchen’s equipment really is testament to the humble, yet precise techniques that we perform in the creation of our menu.
Here is a press feature by James Wallin, talking about his experience of Oki-Nami.
See the listing for Oki Nami Brighton, Japanese Restaurant