Jason Loucas

I worked at Sokyo for eight years. It was my second home and always will be. I still miss it a lot now. I worked with some of the best chefs (Chase Kojima, Brian Logan, Sano Takashi and Daniel Kwak) who became my mentors, my best friends and my family.

The decision to leave was one of the most difficult I have ever had to make. I really enjoyed working at Sokyo, but I recognised that I needed to change my environment and challenge myself more. I was immediately drawn to LK Hospitalityʼs vision for Yugen restaurant, so here I am!

Yugen balances tradition and modernity. The venue aims to deliver a flavourful, innovative and creative culinary experience using Australia’s finest produce.

I am learning new things every day from the team. From kitchen hand to director, there is always something you can learn from others.

Chef Stephen Nairn is very good at business planning, communication and problem-solving. His wealth of industry knowledge is critically important for me to learn from and to use to open a new restaurant. I am also learning [his] western cuisine skills to incorporate into the dishes at Yugen.

I am learning organisational and training skills from Sam Chee. His training process for young chefs is so meticulous, which is a big help in creating confident workers. My role is to help create the menu with our team and to teach and train our team to deliver the best product possible.

Diners can expect traditional Japanese techniques with modern twists; dishes that are familiar yet innovative and creative. I enjoy working with different rare cuts of fish to showcase different flavour profiles.

Bluefin tuna is a very delicate and complex fish to work with. It’s a precious ingredient for me. The ageing process dramatically changes its flavour. Whenever I open a new fish box delivery and I see a bluefin tuna, it feels like I’m opening a birthday present. I
can’t describe the feeling in any other way.

My main passion is sushi and sashimi, and platters are my way of showcasing creativity and technique. There is so much talk about introducing them to our guests in Melbourne.

I like to put flowers, native greens and branches from local suppliers with seafood from our fishermen who deliver from Australia and Japan onto one platter that blooms like a flower and demonstrates my skills and vision as well as our team’s efforts.

We offer platters depending on the seasons and what’s in the best condition at the market with our trusted seafood suppliers. We hope to create some memories.