Our Kickstarter Update

10 Days to go on our project and we're 25% funded.  This project has been a rewarding collaboration between friends and its been amazing to see who has made videos, pledged, and helped spread the word.  We still have a ways to go, but the experience thus far has been...fulfilling. 

Everyday we're updating the project with new videos from friends and our extended family talking about why theyre backing our project.  In some cases its a famous chef, in other cases its a farmer, or just a regular customer.  Today's video features Victor Alvarado.

Vic and I used to be Hapa Ramen.  2 of us.  We had no idea what we were doing, We worked 16 hour days 7 days a week for months.  He was a brand new cook back then, and I raked him over the coals every day.  He was tenacious, exceedingly positive, and turned into a different person during the course of that first year.  Then he headed off to my alma mater, Nopa to work the grill, slug out 500 cover services, and be a part of one of the greatest kitchens in San Francisco. 

And now he's coming back to us to help open Hapa. 

Check out his video and the others, spread the word, and pledge if you can.  Every dollar counts.

Also, he can skate like a maniac. 


Hapa's Kickstarter Campaign

Two years and change into the life of Hapa Ramen, and we are nearing completion on our tiny little noodle shop. My first restaurant. The culmination of all those days of slinging noodles in the rain, hauling stoves and stock pots around, and hustling as hard as we could to feed the masses. Hapa has been without a doubt the most difficult thing that I've ever done in my life. But with all of the trials and tribulations has come some of the greatest rewards. The people I've met and worked with, the guests that we have fed...it's been life changing. So now linecook reader, I ask for your support. If this blog has meant anything to you, or helped you along the way, then please share the link or support our kick starter campaign to help us make our restaurants kitchen come alive. The past two years have been murder on our equipment, and with your support we can upgrade and start phase 2 of Hapa's young life. Any little bit helps, be it a retweet, or a pledge. Thanks. Richie Nakano



I'm standing in the kitchen at Eleven Madison Park, and I should be paying attention to the cook carefully pouring liquid nitrogen into my cocktail.  She's explaining the entire process and ingredients, and i'm pretty sure there is some clever allusion to a digestif or something, but I dont hear any of it.  It's not because im disinterested, or because I have had a dozen glasses of wine. (OK, that may have had a little to do with it.)  It's because it is SO FUCKING NOISY IN THERE.  And I feel completely at home.  Whenever I have been fortunate enough to have been invited into a fine dining kitchen it has always been whispery quiet.  They usher you in, everyone sort of looks up at you and half smiles, and you more or less skulk around in the bitch corner until your time is up, and they show you to the door.  EMP however is a mosh pit;  It's fast and loud and crowded and for fucks sake I just want to jump in there right now and cook.  The composed chaos of it all sends shivers down my spine.  Fine dining is so much sexier when it's humanized like this.

I haven't written here in a long time.  And as much as I would like to blame that on being too busy with maintaining the business and fatherhood, the truth is that I haven't had anything to say.  Linecook had its run and served (and still to some extent, serves) its purpose.  I'm proud of it and thankful for everything it has brought me.  But the truth is that I look at the person that wrote it and he is not here.  I do not recognize him anymore.

In the past year my career has reached a point where things started to settle down a bit.  Hapa found its groove, I added two amazing chefs to my team, and the food started to really reach people.  It seemed like a good time to step back and take stock of where we had been, where we would be going.  A time to focus in on everything that had slipped through my fingers during that first difficult year.  Instead I wanted things to be hard again.  I craved the struggle.  The person who started this blog at one point found refuge in cooking.  It was a place to find peace.  Then somewhere along the way the stress fractures started to give way and a volatile mix of worry, self doubt, and anger...and for fucks sake it felt glorious.  There was no more potent cocktail that could make my adrenaline flow and force me to focus in.

Fiending for chaos is not a sustainable option for healthy living.  When things are good you're on edge.  When service is going smoothly you become irrational, irritated.  Instead of bearing hardship through the beauty and intensity life offers you, instead you face it alone.  You mistake your anger for quiet stoicism...dignity.  Poor choices are made...professional and personal.  Nothing will ever be good enough ever again--only youre too blind to see it.

What is a life well spent? Is it cooking and stars?  Is it accolades and endorsement deals and making a buck?  Is it a million followers or facebook friends?  What the fuck is the point if the pleasure is only coming from the difficult parts? 

  • i just realized last week--almost all of the people in my life currently are people that create/make things...
  • new york.  different this last time around
  • dj shadows the less you know, the better is brilliant
  • im deeply grateful for Coi, because I cant really see it existing in any other city besides SF
  • Svet thinks we should do a podcast
  • Mostly this felt incoherent, but like Violet says, sometimes you have to write
  • Kids crying.  Gotta go.