Seasonal and Local: Houston's New Take on Japanese Cuisine

Shun Japanese Kitchen

Tuna brisket nigiri. Photo courtesy of Shun Japanese Kitchen.

Houston is no stranger to Japanese food: from top-end sushi restaurants to wallet-friendly ramen joints, nearly every neighborhood in the city offers some choice of Japanese cuisine. From both a dining and business perspective, how to stand out in Houston's diverse culinary scene is a challenge.

At Shun Japanese Kitchen, Chef Naoki Yoshida hopes to popularize the Japanese izakaya (neighborhood pub) among the Houston audience by combining seasonal ingredients and Texas-inspired fusion with the basics of Japanese cooking techniques, flavors, and ingredients. A second-generation chef who grew up in the restaurant business at his family's Montrose sushi restaurant Nippon, Chef Yoshida has also trained in Japan, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. Join Asia Society as he draws upon this diverse experience to explore how to combine a personal, authentic approach to Japanese cuisine with a robust business strategy to succeed at Shun. Shun's executive chef Jeff Potts joins him for the discussion.

Light bites and a sake tasting will be available following the program.


Saturday, December 7, 2019
1:45 p.m. Registration
2 p.m. Program

About the Speakers

Naoki Yoshida

Chef Naoki Yoshida has been training under his father at Nippon Restaurant for the past 20 years. Being a local native born in Houston and being the only second-generation Japanese & Sushi Chef in Houston, Naoki was exposed to flavors and idea most Japanese chefs would never be able to comprehend. He has worked in California, Miami, Chicago, and Japan focusing on honing his skills and bringing new concepts of Japanese cuisine and flavors to Houston. Naoki believed the true essence of Japanese cuisine has been fading and recreated a new experience which would be more approachable to guests. In 2017 Naoki opened Shun Japanese Kitchen with his wife Renee (Pastry Chef) to explore new realms of Japanese food with the concept of Second Generation Japanese Food. Naoki and his team have combined Japanese cuisine with Houston inspiration that locals have grown up eating. “Shun” is defined as the best time to serve seasonal food, and the restaurant rotates seasonal food such as vegetables, fish, fruits every season.

Jeff Potts

Chef Jeff Potts is executive chef at Shun. He is Houston born and grew up in South Florida, where he was exposed to a variety of cuisines at a young age. His passion for cooking comes from 14 years of experience in the industry having worked in Orlando, Colorado, and now in Houston for 8 years under some of the most influential chefs in the industry. He strives to represent the diversity of Houston to create a new take on modern Japanese fare.

Moderator information will be announced.

Asia Society Texas Center Business & Policy Programs, Endowed by

Huffington Foundation

Business and Policy programs at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Bank of America, Muffet Blake, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, United Airlines, and Wells Fargo. Major support comes from Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy Pollok Guinee, and Mary Lawrence Porter, as well as The Brown Foundation, Inc. and Houston Endowment. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Asia Society Texas Center, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing the best in public programming.

Business & Policy Presenting Sponsors

B&P Sponsors FY2020

Japan Series Presenting Sponsor

Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)

Event Details

Sat 07 Dec 2019
1:45 - 3 p.m.

1370 Southmore Boulevard

Houston, Texas 77004


Buy Tickets
$20 Members, $30 Nonmembers
Add to Calendar 20191207T194500 20191207T210000 UTC Asia Society: Seasonal and Local: Houston's New Take on Japanese Cuisine 1370 Southmore Boulevard Houston, Texas 77004 713.496.9901