KEN tominaga


Entering Hana Japanese Restaurant, the first face you're likely to see is that of Chef-Owner Ken Tominaga, dipping his head in greeting as he mans his station behind the sushi bar. From there he supervises the dining room and inspects the wide variety of dishes coming out of the kitchen while crafting his own signature sushi specialties. Since he knows that American diners usually judge Japanese restaurants by their sushi, Ken insists on making his own.

Ken came to Sonoma County from Tokyo. His parents immersed him from early childhood into the city's vibrant dining scene. As a boy in Japan, Ken started his culinary apprenticeship. Through high school he worked in restaurants, first as a dishwasher, then as a prep cook, catching a few hours sleep before returning to class. After graduation Ken moved to California to join his family's business, an optics company that had established a presence in Santa Rosa. Local restaurants and the influence of French, Italian, and Chinese cuisine began to color his culinary taste. When Ken's family sold their business, he seized the opportunity to return to his first love. He went back to Tokyo to attend the Akasaka Cooking School. By day he learned to cook everything from tempura to udon. By night, he frequented his favorite sushi restaurants, studying the work of the sushi masters he'd known since he was a boy, coaxing them to reveal recipes and tips, then adapting their secrets to reflect his personal style, while still representing authentic Japanese tradition.

Ken saw the opening of Hana Japanese Restaurant in Rohnert Park as a continuation of his learning process. Even now, with Hana established among the Bay Area's leading Japanese restaurants, Ken continues to refine his cuisine. He works from core principles: using only the highest quality, freshest fish, incorporating the best local produce from the Wine Country, and trusting that if you love food, know how to prepare it and try to make people happy, you will succeed.