1 Minute Meals

Stretch Goals

Photography By Donnelly Marks | August 30, 2017
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When Keizo Shimamoto invented the Ramen Burger, he was at a crossroads. His first ramen-ya in New York City was causing him more grief than happiness, and the realities of building a business were crowding out his vision of culinary mastery. When the ramen burger became a viral hit, he ran with that success, deftly turning this one popular dish into the financial bedrock of his family’s future.

Shimamoto, however, was never interested in being a one-hit wonder. Rather than double down on the ramen burger to maximize cash in the moment, he stabilized that operation to give himself room to grow as a full-fledged ramen chef. He ceased running traditional restaurants, instead founding a wholesale business to act at his base of operations. From his commissary kitchen in Long Island City, he’s now free to do virtually anything he wants to improve his ramen game, from serving customers directly at his pop-up restaurant to supplying other New York ramen shops with high quality stocks and ingredients.

Throughout this process, Shimamoto has thought of himself as a student, and in that mindset he’s started a noodle company to take on the one component of ramen that he’s never made from scratch. When he develops recipes and slurps from the daily test bowl that he eats to assure quality, the chef becomes—for a moment—the same ramen blogger who emerged from the 2008 financial crisis in search of a life he could call his own. If the latest batch of noodles are any indication, that life has never been more firmly in his grasp.

Learn more about Chef Keizo’s ramen dream at his website

© Music by Dorian Love. © Photographs by Donnelly Marks.

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