Makoto Okuwa, chef-partner of Makoto.
Why he’s Food 50: His passion for cooking and eye for hospitality make his namesake Japanese restaurant one of Miami’s top dining experiences.
Chef Makoto Okuwa apprenticed at the hands of sushi masters in his native Japan for 10 years before moving to the United States. He worked in Washington, Philadelphia and New York, becoming Iron Chef Morimoto’s head sushi chef before branching out on his own, opening sushi restaurants in Los Angeles. Since 2011, Okuwa has partnered with restaurateur Stephen Starr in Makoto at the Bal Harbour Shops.
Five years into its run, Makoto remains in the discussion as not only one of Miami’s best Japanese restaurants but among its very best restaurants, period. Okuwa is opening a second Makoto, in Panama, based off the original’s success. StarChefs.com named Okuwa a Rising Star 10 years ago, when he was making sushi at Morimoto in New York. Today, Okuwa’s composed plates, like his dry-aged duck that was one of the Miami Herald’s top dishes of 2015, at his own restaurant show that his star has risen.
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Where to find him: Makoto, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; 305-864-8600