Ever since childhood, RAKKAN chef and owner Ryohei Ito desired to attain a creative outlet. This aspiration roots from his father, a manufacturing company owner from Japan. Through witnessing his father’s out-of-the-box creations to being taken on numerous camping trips to the wilderness, Ito was raised with the freedom to express his creativity and an inclination to travel the world.
After graduating from junior high, Ito tried his hand in the culinary world. He enrolled in a specialized high school and studied cuisine as well as creative design. After his studies, Ito became employed as a chef at a Spanish restaurant in Tachikawa, Japan.
After getting some income, Ito quit his job became employed as a chef on a cruise run by a global nonprofit organization called Peace Boat. He was one of the 50 chefs from all over the world and served for 1500 customers. From having to use the foreign tongue of English to building relationships with those from different cultural backgrounds, working with Peace Boat was a different yet educational experience for Ito. This new occupation quenched his desires to not only express creativity through cooking but also to travel the world. While working on this ship, Ito traveled around the world twice. He called himself “chef adventurer”, Ito visited more than 50 countries and tried countless cuisines as he went along.
After his experiences with Peace Boat, Ito began to take on the next stage of his culinary journey. Whilst visiting different countries and their cuisines, Ito realized that in Japanese restaurants around the world, there aren’t a lot of cases of authenticity in the food being produced. Many seemed to only be “Japanese-inspired” or “Japanese fusion”, instead of raw Japanese cuisine. As a Japanese chef, Ito aspired to bring authentic Japanese food to the world, and chose Japanese soul food “Ramen” as his instrument.
He first opened a very small ramen shop in Nishi Azabu, Tokyo. Ito didn’t want to cut corners with his ramen and decided to only utilize high-quality Japanese ingredients. He traveled all over Japan and picked only the finest, healthiest ingredients to make his dishes, avoiding fatty or chemical components like MSG. After a lot of trial and error, Ito’s four-seat shop began to develop a long line out the door and even gained attention on media platforms due to its delicious yet healthy ramen. His culinary dream was starting to reach its peak.
After building four more Ramen shops and even one franchise, Ito decided to move to the United States and bring his ramen recipe to an international scale. Despite this huge milestone, Ito knew that his cooking journey has just begun.