Kaz Okochi studied in Osaka to complete his formal training in sushi and fugu (blowfish) preparation. In 1988, Kaz came to Washington, D.C., to work at Sushi-Ko, Washington's oldest sushi bar. As Executive Chef, Kaz was involved in both food preparation and the many aspects of restaurant management. He was one of the first Japanese chefs in America to develop modern menu items from old, time-honored Japanese recipes, and he was the first to introduce premium Japanese sakes to the nation's capital in 1992. In 1999, Chef Okochi opened KAZ Sushi Bistro in downtown Washington, D.C. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) named KAZ Sushi Bistro one of the year's top five new restaurants, and it quickly became one of the capital area's hottest Japanese dining destinations. Since then KAZ Sushi Bistro has won many honors, including the 2006 RAMMY Award for Informal Dining Restaurant of the Year. Always on the 'cutting edge,' Chef Kaz works with Japanese, Western, and other international flavors to create what he calls 'freestyle Japanese cuisine'—original presentations, often with a modern twist. Kaz also co-owns another Washington hotspot, Masa 14. Masa 14 features a menu of Latin-Asian small plates, designed by Kaz and acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval.