Chef Ken Tominaga is a Tokyo native who took Northern California’s culinary scene by a storm when he launched Hana Japanese restaurant in Sonoma County. Thanks to Chef Ken’s signature ever-evolving menus centered around highest quality, freshest fish, and the best local produce, he quickly established himself as one of the country’s leading authorities on Japanese cuisine.
As with most truly passionate cooks, Chef Ken’s love for all things culinary began when he was a child in Tokyo. You can thank Chef Ken’s parents for sparking this interest – they made a point to immerse young Chef Ken in Tokyo’s vibrant dining scene. Chef Ken started his apprenticeship at an early age and quickly fell in love with the culinary world. As he pursued his studies in high school, Chef Ken also began climbing the proverbial ladder in the restaurant sphere. He didn’t stop his cooking education there. Chef Ken first graduated from the Akasaka Cooking School then in 1990 he opened Hana Japanese Restaurant.
The collaboration between Chef Michael Mina and Chef Ken was fate. It wasn’t long after opening Hana Japanese restaurant that Chef Ken developed a devoted, cult following among fellow chefs and the local restaurant industry. Countless media accolades followed, including from the San Francisco Chronicle who called it “one of the best restaurants in all of Sonoma County.” Obviously, Chef Mina had to visit and see what all the fuss was about. What he saw blew him away. Hana Japanese restaurant became one of Chef Mina’s favorite restaurant; in fact Chef Mina even got in the habit of ordered the same roll from Chef Ken’s inventive omakase menu over and over again! Chef Mina fell in love with Ken’s craft and the two chefs developed a friendship and a mutual admiration for one another’s work. Together, they created PABU and its casual offshoot The Ramen Bar.
PABU is a modern, yet authentic, izakaya style Japanese restaurant. It has two locations: one in San Francisco, California and the other in Boston, Massachusetts. Working with the same incredible quality of fresh fish and local produce, Chef Ken once again took Northern California by a storm, but this time he added the East Coast to the mix of deliciousness. As someone who lives and breathes omotenashi (Japanese hospitality), Chef Ken’s lively yet true-to-form PABU excites everyone from foodies to casual diners seeking an elevated Japanese dining experience. Check out some of Chef Ken’s awards below.
- Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards – Top 10 Best U.S. Restaurant Bars in the West
- San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Restaurant 2015-2018