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Two Men and a Sushi Dream: 81 SeiHai Sushi Lounge

Filipinos have grown to embrace the love for anything Japanese. In fact, if you check your Facebook feed nowadays, you are most likely to see your social media friends going on a trip to the different cities and tourist spots in Japan. Usually, the first thing that comes to mind is food (sushi, sashimi and ramen), but fashion has found its way in Philippine soil. Not only the fashion brands, but even the style.

As a flight attendant, I have travelled to Japan (Osaka, Narita and Nagoya) and I fell in love with the place. The people are nice and the places I went to are all spectacular. I’ve also written a blog post entitled “Turning Japanese” focusing on the “must-visit” places that you must see when visiting Japan. Last year, I’ve also brought my mom to Osaka, Japan and she loved it. I guess it is truly a place that leaves a mark in your heart when you visit it. 

Going back to food though, there are several crowd favorites that come to mind when it comes to Japanese Food; Sashimi, Tempura, Maki and Sushi. But, for the new restaurant called 81 SeiHai, they will serve not just any kind of Sushi — they will serve Fusion Sushi! It’s Sushi like you’ve never tasted before.

The idea of putting up a Fusion Sushi Lounge started as a dream by business savvy Chris Cordero.

Born and raised in San Francisco, USA from a family of successful business men, his dad and brothers left an indelible mark in entire being that the best way to lead a fulfilling life is by having your own business, so when the time comes that the business can stand on its own, you’ll have time to spend on what’s really important; your family, and friends, living comfortably at that.

In 2009, Chris went to the Philippines but guess what. He didn’t leave his heart in San Francisco. It all stayed here in the Philippines. He went back to the States to do some unfinished business, but came back to the Philippines in 2011 and stayed.

So now, here’s a young entrepreneur who enjoys being one. In fact, with the right connections from people around the world, he was able to start CPC Luxury Inc. where he sells luxury watches. You can find these watches in its social platforms under Wrist Game Manila.

His love for food, fashion and music is pretty much evident in his lifestyle. The stars aligned one day, when he met a Fusion Sushi Chef who also is from the United States. This chance meeting lead Chris to hire this young, talented chef who people respectfully call Chef Ronnie DeGuzman.

Chef Ronnie De Guzman, 81 SeiHai’s executive chef, is a man of many achievements. Hailing from Georgia, USA, he has made his way to the culinary world of the Philippines to re-discover his Pinoy roots.

Chef Ronnie de Guzman

With his 12 years of experience in Japanese food preparation and services, you know that 81 SeiHai is in good hands. An expert in food handling and safety, plus his knowledge with fish, sea food, and entrees, there’s no doubt that 81 SeiHai will possess a high standard of quality dishes and service to customers.

Chef Ronnie finished university in Savannah, Georgia, with a degree of Criminal Justice and Child Psychology in June 2003. He took up a Certificate in Food Service a few years later to get his cooking career started.

Chef Ronnie de Guzman at work

He was a Sushi Chef in Hirano’s Sushi Bar while he was still a college student. He assisted in the basic preparation of the food under the supervision of the Head Chef, and he also created dishes for clients with special dietary or cultural needs.

By 2005, right after finishing his Certificate in Food Service, he was the Sushi Chef in the Musashi Japanese Steakhouse. He was tasked in presenting special Japanese dishes to patrons and was also the go-to guy when it comes to menu recommendations. “It was a pretty fast-paced restaurant,” he recalls. “I would have to serve at least 80 people a day with their orders of makis, appetizers, other cold dishes, and their order of seafood. This particular job taught me the value of time management since I also had to make sure that the restaurant and kitchen were both clean once I close up shop for the night.”


One of Chef Ronnie’s signature salmon-sushi roll

After spending 3 years in the Musashi Japanese Steakhouse, he then decided to apply for the Executive Sushi Chef position at Tangerine Fusion Sushi Bar Restaurant — also in Savannah, Georgia. He contributed in the creation of the restaurant’s menu, which lead to the 20% increase in the company; he also trained the floor staff in proper etiquettes and assisted in the maintenance of the inventory and stocks.

“I decided to try my luck and start a business in the Philippines. I settled in Angeles City, in Pampanga. It’s been where I’m staying since 2015.” Chef Ronnie opened the Steak Street Restaurant and Fusion Sushi Japanese Restaurant 3 years ago, in Marisol, Angeles City. He is chef and part-owner of the place — he made sure to train the staff in effective service to reduce the waiting time of the customers. He inspected the kitchen daily, ensured the hygienic maintenance of the restaurants, and supervised the chefs and cooks under him. “I also created the menu and interior design of the restaurant — I wanted to incorporate a Japanese feel to it,” he says.

81 SeiHai, being his new endeavor, is at the top of Chef Ronnie’s list. “I’ll make sure to bring my standards from my own restaurant in Pampanga to 81 SeiHai,” he claims.

All in all, we know that 81 SeiHai is on its way to be one of the top fusion restaurants in the city. With Chef Ronnie at the helm, customers would surely come back to experience the ambiance, food, and service over and over again.

81 SEIHAI (pronounced as SAY HI) Sushi Lounge is located at the G/F President Tower, 81 Timog Avenue, Quezon City. For inquiries, please call (02) 355 0367 or 0915 513 7671.

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