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About the restaurant
Koyo means "Autumnal Foliage" which refers to the changing of Japanese maple tree leaves which signals the change of a seasonal. Koyo has a strong focus on seasonality and uses ingredients at their peak during that season to create a Kaiseki-inspired multi-sensory dining experience.
There are four seasons in a year and at Koyo, the menu also changes four times a year or every three months. With each and every seasonal menu change, the team at Koyo incorporates various techniques and cooking styles that follow the progression of a traditional Kaiseki but are served in an Omakase format.
We invite each and every guest to come with an open mind and enjoy every dish that the team at Koyo has curated.
About the Chef
The brainchild behind Koyo is chef-owner Jay Zheng. Chef Jay was born in a small village in southern China where poverty was the common medium in the mid-80s. Growing up without the minimal essentials such as running water, electricity, or television, Chef Jay grew up to appreciate all the small things in life.
Limited electricity means no refrigeration so Chef Jay would go to the village market every morning at 5 am with his mother to pick out the food and essentials to be consumed just for the day and every day after. Everything was essentially farm to table and growing up in that philosophy, Jay had a good understanding that quality ingredients doesn't always have to be expensive but made with care and love.
Chef Jay immigrated to the US in 1994 where his father Kai, has
been a chef in the states since the 80's and opened his first restaurant in 1992. At the age of 8, Chef Jay was immediately put into a restaurant environment and by the time he was 16, he had been taught all the basics to operate a restaurant business. Watching his father cook at a young age, Jay started to learn all the basic cooking techniques such as braising, frying, steaming, pickling and grilling. It wasn't until Chef Jay turned 18 that he ventured out on his own and a few years later, he landed a position at the 5-Star Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. It was at Peninsula where he was exposed to the world of fine dining and it blew his mind. In 2011, Jay partnered up with a close family and opened his first Japanese restaurant. Chef Jay worked closely with the older Sushi Chef that has been in honing their craft for the past 25 years. It is at this location where he found his love for Sushi and Japanese cooking. Chef Jay started to experience with different ingredients but also incorporating what he had learned from his father. In 2015, Chef Jay decided to leave everything behind and ventured off to the Big Apple, New York to open his first fine dining Japanese restaurant called Gaijin. At Gaijin, Chef Jay collaborated with the lead sushi chef in the menu development while operating in the background due to his quiet and humble nature. After doing menu development behind the scene for the next 4 1/2 years, Chef Jay decided it was time for him to take the lead position front and center as the Head Chef, thus Koyo was born. With 20+ years of experience in the kitchen and sushi bar, Chef Jay invites our guests to experience his passion for food.