Chef Joe Anthony is forever grateful for a special trip he took to Japan.

"It is more than just the experience there, it is about the experience that follows that,” said Anthony.

Anthony is a graduate of the Gohan Society, a culinary exchange program founded in 2005. Selected American and Japanese chefs have the opportunity to study in Japan or the United States.

What You Need To Know

  • Chef Joe Anthony took part in the Gohan Society program and implements the Japanese culinary knowledge he learned from the trip to his current job

  • He is grateful for Saori Kawano, who started the program
  • Kawano came to the United States from Japan in 1978 and worked as a waitress while starting her cutlery business, Korin

Anthony says he applies what he learned in Japan to his current job as the culinary director at Gabriel Kreuther in Bryant Park, and credits his success to the entrepreneur behind it all, Saori Kawano.

When NY1 was at the restaurant, Anthony was cooking some Nori Macaroni, implementing the Japanese-inspired cuisine he learned on the trip. He prepared the meal for Kawano.

"I call her my Mama. She has taken such good care of all of us,” Anthony said.

“He's amazing,” Kawano said as she left Gabriel Kreuther.

After a quick lunch to visit Anthony, Kawano is off to work herself.

"You don't give up, if you believe in yourself,” Kawano said.

She would know. She has accomplished a great deal as the founder of Korin, her cutlery company.

Kawano came to New York in 1978 from Japan.

"It was hard because I didn't know much English,” Kawano said.

She decided to get a job as a waitress at a Japanese restaurant to have an outlet to her beloved heritage.  At the same time, she was building her own business.

"I just went around door to door,” Kawano said. Her handmade knives made in Japan cater to the culture's cuisine.

"When you eat sashimi, sashimi slicing has to be very, very perfect,” Kawano said.

Kawano said Chef Jean-Georges took a chance on her and that inspired her to help other chefs rise in their careers through the Gohan Society.

“When Chef Jean-George was opening Vong's Restaurant in 1992, before his opening, he was looking for Asian tableware,” Kawano said, describing when she started to see her company build momentum.

Korin is celebrating its 40th anniversary. She continues to bridge American and Japanese culture with her knives and the Gohan Society.

"This is really my dream come true,” Kawano said.