Gani T. Cristobal of Yamashiro Hollywood on Holiday Plans, Culinary Inspiration, and Learning from his Mentor
Chef Gani T. Cristobal of the famed Hollywood Hills restaurant Yamashiro Hollywood dedicates a huge portion of his life to his culinary development and training. Which is why for the holidays it’s less about the meals to him and more about the company of good friends and family.
For Thanksgiving, Gani plans to celebrate amongst friends in a sort of casual Friendsgiving. For his Christmas plans, Chef Gani potentially may take a long journey to the other side of the globe and enjoy his holiday in Asian countries such as Japan or South Korea.
“I like the winter weather a lot, you know?” begins Gani. “So for me, besides going to the Philippines, I’m just trying to go to Japan. I’ve been trying to go to Japan for the first time, and try visiting South Korea again because I only visited Korea when I was a kid. That’s one of the countries that I want to go back to try to see. I’ve been really interested in their food.”
Some of the Korean dishes Gani is most excited to try and draw inspiration from when on his travels are dishes such as scallion pancakes and naengmyeon. Literally translated, naengmyeon means “cold noodles.” It’s a delicious and uniquely textured dish made up of thin chewy noodles usually served over some kind of soup or broth.
In his time at Yamashiro, Gani has had the opportunity to train under the Executive Chef, Chef Jaehee Lee. The experience has taught Gani so much about cooking, but also about leadership and how to cultivate a collaborative environment.
“I think the best part of working with Chef Jae is that he’s just very open to everything. He’s gonna give you a proper answer to your questions. I think one of the things that I love about Chef Jae is that he knows how to teach people. It sounds very vague, but I’ve been with people that tried to teach but they don’t actually know how to teach people.”
The environment within Yamashiro Hollywood’s kitchen is a clear example of how proper education as well as constructive feedback and demonstration can make a fantastic team of chefs and help a restaurant thrive.
“I think he is a very good leader to actually follow because he always leads by example. He cares a lot about his guys as well as how they progress with their careers, how they develop as a person you know, and he always tries to make it easier for them. Especially when it comes to producing food, different techniques as well.”
With so much excitement going on in Gani’s life and so many different avenues for education and inspiration we truly cannot wait to see what he accomplishes next.