Slow Poke

Slow Poke

Photos by Eduardo Contreras

When he first set foot in Matsuhisa Aspen at age 22, Brian Redzikowski knew nothing about Japanese cuisine.

"I said, 'Listen, I'll work for a month for free. I don't know what soy sauce is. I don't know what sesame oil is. I don't know anything, but I'm a hard worker. I'll work,' " Redzikowski said.

And work he did.

For the next three years, Redzikowski earned his culinary chops in a Colorado kitchen overseen by world-renowned chef and winner of a prestigious James Beard award, Nobu Matsuhisa, the namesake of a global chain of high-end Japanese restaurants that includes Nobu San Diego, inside downtown's Hard Rock...