SUMILE | New York City
Born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in Clinton, New
Jersey, Sumile chef Josh DeChellis, 31, is an unlikely standard
bearer for traditional Japanese cuisine. But his inspired
use of Japanese ingredients is leaving an indelible impression
on the New York dining scene.
At 14, Josh began working at a local restaurant to earn money
for a new snowboard. The unconventional lifestyle of the chef
immediately attracted him to the profession, as did the pleasure
of seeing good food delight the guests. Over the objections
of his parents, Josh followed his passion and entered the
esteemed Culinary Institute of America in 1992. After graduation,
he began his professional career as a chef de partie working
at the Frenchtown Inn in Frenchtown, New Jersey. He then landed
a position in San Francisco as sous chef at Wolfgang Puck's
famous Postrio. After three years in San Francisco, Wolf sent
Josh to France to further educate him on traditional French
technique, where he worked at two Michelin three-star restaurants:
the famed L'Arpege and Lucas Carton.
Upon returning to the States, Josh was ready to give New York
a try. His career took a seminal turn when he began working
with Rocco DiSpirito at the then New York Times three-star-rated
Union Pacific. While working there, Josh also traveled around
the world, going on eating trips through France, hunting for
truffles, and cooking in Singapore. To round out his epicurean
experiences, he also worked with such notable chefs as David
Bouley, Charlie Trotter and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Ready to head up his own kitchen, Josh found a fitting home
for his adventurous cuisine at Sumile. Before opening the
restaurant in September 2003, he spent six weeks eating and
cooking in Kyoto and Tokyo's Shibuya-Ku neighborhood, cooking
with regional ingredients and perfecting the nuances of traditional
Japanese technique. Once back in the US, he searched for specialty
importers to bring many of the ingredients he discovered in
Japan to Sumile, recognizing that "The more special flavors
I can find, the better equipped I am to make something spectacular."
Some of his most exclusive ingredients include fresh myoga,
kinome (the leaves of the sansho pepper plant), fresh
ramen imported directly from Japan and tonburi (not-so-commonly
known as “field caviar”).
At Sumile, Josh showcases flavors that are clean and authentic,
two qualities that echo throughout Japanese cuisine. His inspired,
devil-may-care approach to cooking has resulted in rave reviews
from guests and critics alike and a reputation as rising star
in the culinary world.