TAICHI ISHIZUKI - CEO
Taichi farmed grapes and studied wine making in Australia, worked for Global-Dining Inc Japan until 2010. Taichi and his wife moved to Portland to make a lifelong home for their new family and just welcomed the birth of their first son, Lennon! Taichi loves camping, travelling, and backpacking, and has been all over Japan, Australia, and some of Asia. His goal is to share authentic Japanese food culture "日本の食文化" all over the world with AFURI.
ERIN BUTTERWORTH - general manager
Erin has worked in restaurants for over 25 years. She earned a degree with honors in Restaurant Management from GA State University in Atlanta. Born on the west coast, she has come full circle to finding her permanent home in Portland. Erin is passionate about drink and food and the comfort that it brings people. From kitchen manager in Philly at an Italian restaurant to GM with Starr Restaurants, to Director of Hospitality with Bamboo Sushi she has found her home as GM of Afuri. Her hope is to help grow Japanese food culture in Portland. She is passionate about teaching her staff to be truly educated in Japanese cuisine, sake and service. Her biggest passion is raising her furr-family. Her pitbull lucy gets all of her free time. Visiting the coast, hanging out in the back yard, or enjoying a nice bottle of sake or whisky rye with friends.
Yoji began learning to cook when he was 18 years old. He has over 20 years of traditional Japanese cuisine and sushi experience. Yoji grew up in Japan and moved to the USA in 2003. He’s worked in sushi restaurants all across the US. Yoji met Taichi while working in Los Angeles, and moved to the Pacific Northwest to join us at Afuri. His favorite part of being a chef is being able to interact with guests and share his love of food with them. When he is not working, Yoji enjoys fly fishing for trout, watching movies, and drinking sake or wine. His favorite ramen is our yuzu shio!
MEGAN GARRETT, assistant general manager
Megan grew up in the Columbia River Gorge with a close connection to food and a hands-on understanding of what it takes to bring that food from farms to tables; her father is a fishing guide, her mother is a master gardener, her grandpa owned an orchard and her uncle is a cattle rancher. Living directly off of the land for most of her life, she grew an intense love for the culinary world, a deep appreciation for the process of homemade and handcrafted food, and was most of all excited about the social opportunities and community food created. It is no surprise that she eventually landed at Afuri, where she gets to continue on her family's legacy and respect for the bounty of the Pacific Northwest in her own way, and combine that with her love of people. Megan has been working in Japanese restaurants for over eleven years and is thrilled to call Afuri home! Megan met Erin while working at Bamboo Sushi, and feels very thankful to be able to continue to work alongside her and the amazing team at Afuri. When Megan isn't leading Afuri's front of house team, she enjoys spending her free time camping, hiking, making art, enjoying Portland's food and music scenes, and playing fetch with her kitten Edie!
Learning is a great motivator of Johnny’s. He made the difficult decision in June of 2016 to leave his home in Hawaii of 24 years to join the Portland food community. The need to continuously expand his skill sets and knowledge inspired him to begin a journey across the world, progressing through every major food city on his route to Europe and Asia. He applied to work with Chef Harada at Afuri after just one bowl of ramen and considers himself very fortunate to be able to learn and progress under him. In his spare time (and true to his upbringing) he can be found at any of Portland’s various karaoke bars with a cheap beer and whiskey in hand beside his Fiancée and partner of three years. He looks forward to showing Portland what Hawaii has to offer and tasting his way through whatever he can get his hands on.
Michael Huthmacher - Head Sushi Chef
Born and raised in Japan, my first venture into Sushi was my grandmother taking me to a high end Omakase joint. I was very young but distinctly recall my fascination with the cuisine and its, one of a kind presentation. I was hooked, and would grow up, with the multi-faceted experience being my anchor of standards. With that encounter resonating within me even still, I work to perfect my craft in hopes of leaving the same unforgettable impression with our patrons!