Kash Feng, co-founder and CEO of Omakase Restaurant Group, moved to the Bay Area at age 18. He was the only child of factory workers, so when he moved to the U.S. in 1999 with his buddies, he borrowed $20,000 from relatives and friends, promising to return them.
Feng started working as a dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant in the East Bay, and was quickly promoted to busboy. He progressed through various industrial occupations, frequently juggling three jobs at once, while also taking English classes.
In 2007, he met Jackson Yu, who eventually became his business partner and executive chef of Omakase sushi restaurant. Like Feng, Yu also had modest beginnings. At 16, he and his parents left China and moved to the Bay Area.
Yu was a Japanese buffet busboy and gas boy on his days off. He was once asked to help out when the sushi chef cut his fingers one day. Yu then became so skilled that he could manually shape 2,000 identically sized sushi rice balls per day. Other sushi establishments took notice of this, including the well-known Ebisu in the Sunset, where he worked for five years to master sushi making.
They were both 26 when they decided to start their own restaurant business, Live Sushi, pooling all their savings and borrowing from relatives. Their restaurant was a hit from the beginning. Eventually, they were able to pay off all their loans, and the rest is history.
Now, Omakase Restaurant Group is an ever-growing empire, with different establishments all over San Francisco.