At 15, Noriyuki Sugie had every intention of becoming a guitar hero. But his rock ‘n’ roll aspirations were interrupted when he got a job at an American-style restaurant in Tokyo; he discovered similarities in music and food—the need for harmony, orchestration, and a good show. It wasn’t long before he set down the guitar in favor of the knife.
After graduating high school, Sugie enrolled at the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, and then continued his studies at the Tsuji School of Advanced Culinary Studies in Château de L’Éclair, France. Over a five-year period, Sugie worked at three Michelin-starred restaurants in Bordeaux, including the three-starred L’Aubergade, the one-starred Le Moulin de Martorey, and the two-starred Hostellerie du Vieux.
In 1996, he moved to Chicago, where he spent two years as chef de partie at Charlie Trotter’s before chance landed him in Sydney, Australia. He worked at Tetsuya’s, one of the city’s top restaurants. His next venture in Sydney exposed him to restaurant management, as chef and partner of Restaurant VII. Here Sugie had full reign over the menu and he pulled out all the stops with sumptuous French-Japanese cuisine. The Sydney Morning Herald claimed it Best New Restaurant of 2001.
In 2003, Sugie was selected as chef de cuisine of the New York City Mandarin Oriental flagship restaurant Asiate. After four years, rave reviews, and being named a 2005 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef, Sugie left Asiate to build his own brand.
In 2008, he launched IRONNORI. Sugie has found success in consulting and his pop-up guest chef and mixology series, called Hatchi and Hatchi Mix respectively, hosted at Breadbar in Los Angeles. For Hatchi Sugie invites local chefs to create small dishes for a one night menu; it’s proving to be a runaway success and fertile testing ground for chefs to try new dishes. Sugie has also added a line of high-tech roasted coffee beans, called Kuromame.