As a culinary artist, Hugh is a chef to the celebrities. His traditional style appeals to the likes of Ed Norton, Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Torro.

Growing up he embraced the essence of Asian food through time spent at his family’s restaurant in Hawaii and regular visits to Tokyo Inspired by the Japanese cuisine, Ryu Sato decided to stay on in Tokyo to learn the fundamentals of sushi-ya and ryori.

Hugh worked in a number of high profile US East and West coast eateries before joining one of the OKKU founders, Markus Thesleff, in 2001 in Marbella and London at Pangaea. His next move was to New York to work at high profile Matsuri alongside legendary Chie Shirahata, who is famed for having opened and trained the kitchen staff for Nobu in London, Aspen, Las Vegas and New York. He moved to LA after NYC and Las Vegas thereafter, before landing in Dubai.

Hugh recently won ‘Chef of the Year’ at the Caterer Middle East Awards 2011 and has been instrumental in the numerous awards that OKKU has won since opening in February 2009.*

FOUR Questions with Hugh

Describe your culinary philosophy in 4 words…

Cook as if for family.

What is your greatest inspiration?

My mother’s cooking.

If you could take a plane ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?

Shirakawago, Japan –a 7-seater ramen house in the mountains.

What four things would you take to a desert island?

Water, a delicious bento, a snorkel and swimming trunks.

  • Best Fine Dining Restaurant |Ahlan! Best in Dubai Awards 2011
  • Restaurant of the Year 2011 | Caterer Middle East Awards
  • Chef of the Year 2011 | Caterer Middle East Awards
  • Winner ‘Best Japanese’ 2011 | TimeOut Dubai Restaurant Awards
  • Small Business Award 2010 | Arabian Business Achievement Awards
  • Best Fine Dining Restaurant 2010 – Ahlan’s Best in Dubai
  • Finalist Best Japanese Restaurant 2010 | What’s On Awards 2010
  • Highly Commended ‘Best Chef’ | Caterer Middle East Awards 2010
  • Winner ‘Black Cod Test’ | What’s On Magazine Survey 2010
  • Restaurant of the Year 2009 | Caterer Middle East Magazine Awards
  • Best Restaurant 2009 |Timeout Best in Dubai Awards


The H Dubai

1 Sheikh Zayed Road



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