Kanji Kurukawa 'Ramen Boss'

TTF Interviews - Kanji Kurukawa 'Ramen Boss'


Kanji Kurukawa, Executive Chef at Shoryu Ramen


Kanji is Shoryu’s very own Ramen Boss, turning piggy bits into rich, silky tonkotsu broth. A certified Washoku chef, Kanji was head hunted by Tak and first joined Japan Centre as Head Chef of Toku, the company's contemporary Japanese restaurant, before establishing Shoryu Ramen in 2012. A native of Hakata for 31 years, the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen, Kanji is acutely tuned into what makes the perfect bowl of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen. Honing Shoryu's tonkotsu recipe over several months, Kanji is immensely proud of the authentic flavours Shoryu achieves and makes regular trips back to Hakata to work with his contemporaries, keeping up with the latest techniques and trends.


Name: Kanji Kurukawa 'Ramen Boss'

Age: 41

Nationality: Japanese 

Current workplace: Shoryu Ramen

Previously worked at: Chikushino (Kaiseki restaurant Hakata) / Ishida Nakasu


What inspired you to become a chef - when was your 'Eureka' moment?

My older brother's friend was a kaiseki chef and saw something in me, luckily I listened to him and looked into it! 


What was your very first job?
A fishmonger at 18 years old, not a glamorous job but gave me the basic skills to go onto sushi training.  I helped at the daily auction, filleted, cleaned and served customers.


If you could only cook with 3 ingredients for the rest of your life which would they be?
Dashi, the most important base to Japaese cuisine is a must. Then of course I must say tonkotsu broth and noodles!


What's your favourite cuisine and what drink would you have with it?
Tapas. I love the sharing element, the small portions. It's very similar to the Japanese 'izakaya' style of dining, of course you have to have a nice cava with it! 


Which chef inspires you the most?
Ishida San, my first kaiseki teacher at Ishisa Nakasu. He taught me all I know.


What would be your last supper and who would cook it?

Fugu sashimi, the poisonous blowfish, prepared by my wife!


If you had not been a chef, what would you have done?
A carpenter or builder like my father


Tell us a secret?
No secrets, apart from my tonkotsu soup recipe which of course I can't tell you! 


What's your favourite kitchen utensil?
Japanese sashimi knife (of course)


Who would you love to cook for?
Family is important to me. My father, I've never cooked for my father. 


What music / track do you like to listen to whilst cooking?
Eric Clapton, love him 


Favourite junk food / guilty pleasure?
Takoyaki! Japanese street food, a type of battered ball filled with octopus, ginger and spring onion covered with katsuobushi, aonori seaweed, mayo and takoyaki sauce. 


What irritates you most about the industry?
Not irritates, but the London restaurant scene is very competitive, we need it to keep improving and evolving but it's a tough business!


Tell us about the most difficult customer you have ever dealt with?
There's always someone difficult every week, it's the nature of the business! Just the usual demanding drunks or people wanting to take home their last mouthful of ramen, which I don't recommend after sitting in soup for ages. The noodles get too soggy and its not the way I like to serve my ramen. 


Who would be your fantasy kitchen team?
My good friend Endo, executive chef at Zuma. I've known him for over 15 years, it'd be lots of fun.

Written by Lateef Okunnu

About the Author

Founder / Reviews

Lateef Okunnu's TryThisFor page

twitter - https://twitter.com/lateefokunnu

Instagram - http://instagram.com/teefy87

email - lateef@trythisfor.com

Founder of TryThisFor.com - An 8 year stint as a food writer not only waged a constant war between Lateef and his waistline but resulted in daily requests for restaurant recommendations. Something had to be done about one of these, and considering a life without food was unthinkable, creating a food-guide was the next logical way to go. Having worked for numerous food-magazines, night-life guides and websites; it was time to create his own. 


Latest Interviews

  • Maurilio Molteni - Head Chef Tozi Restaurant
  • Wenny Armstrong - Django Bango


    Stay firmly in the loop with all of London's recent new restaurant openings!
  • London's Best Brunches
    Nothing's hotter than brunches right now so we've created the mother of all lists... enjoy!
    Our favourite fancies offer affordable alternatives at lunch time - here's part one of our favourites!
  • TTF Recipes
    Not going out? That's cool - stay in and have a go at some of our great recipes. Try This at Home!
  • Best Restaurants in London
    Browse all our lists of some of London's best restaurants.
    We’ve turned our attention to the best spots London has to offer to snatch a bit of that early springtime sun.
  • London Pop-Ups
    A list of our favourite pop-up restaurants and bars happening in London right now!
  • Best Seafood Restaurants
    7 of our favourite spots for fans of seafood.

Something Similar

Explore London


Centre Point, 101-103 New Oxford Street, Soho WC1A 1DD


49 Frith St, Soho W1D 4SG


2 Acton St, King's Cross WC1X 9NA


26 Fortess Road, Kentish Town, NW5 2HB


26 Bruton Place, Mayfair W1J 6NG


1 Granary Square N1C 4AA


44 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia SW1W 9PA


46 Commercial Street, Shoreditch E1 6LT