Yael Peet and Elena Yamamoto were partners and co-chefs at Karasu, a Japanese American restaurant in Fort Greene.
Yamamoto grew up with a Japanese father. Once she decided that she wanted to pursue cooking as a career, she moved to Japan to hone her skills. She started at the restaurant under Peet as a line cook, but later to two became equals per Peet’s suggestion. Both women have artistic backgrounds.
The pair specialized in izakaya cuisine, which is meant to be eaten with drinks. Since their kitchen space was small, they were constantly finding ways to make delicious dishes using as little space and as few ingredients as possible. They also aimed to incorporate the dishes into the social aspect of the space, making sure that their guests could still socialize and carry on while they’re eating. The pair say they were constantly studying to perfect their craft and honor the history of the dishes they were making.
While they’re both optimistic about the future of women in the food industry, they say there is still plenty of room for innovating. They have since moved on from Karasu, and are currently working to open their own restaurant in early 2020.