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Pioneering Bay Area Sushi Chef Ken Tominaga Dies at 61

Known for his Sonoma County restaurant Hana Japanese, Ken Tominaga died Monday of cancer.

(06/10/2015 Boston, MA) Chef Ken Tominaga is part of plans for a Japanese restaurant in the soon to be completed Millennium Towers in Downtown Crossing. Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Staff Photo by Matt West.
Chef Ken Tominaga
Photo by Matt West/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Chef Ken Tominaga, a pioneering sushi chef known for his Sonoma County restaurant Hana Japanese Restaurant, died earlier this week after a short battle with cancer, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Tominaga had been a part of the Bay Area dining community for more than three decades, and his restaurant Hana was long popular with those in the industry thanks to its reputation for “impeccable attention to detail and seasonal fish.” Most recently, Tominaga lent his name and talents to the much-anticipated multilevel downtown Healdsburg restaurant the Matheson. In addition to a tasting menu restaurant and a rooftop lounge, the restaurant includes a sushi bar which Tominaga oversaw.

In a statement on the Hana Japanese Restaurant Facebook page, Tominaga’s family described the chef as a self-motivated man who loved cooking, surfing, golfing, and being a father. “His passion for Japanese flavor was infectious and as he grew his family, he grew a thriving business for over 30 years sharing his mastery of traditional Japanese cooking with the Bay Area community and beyond,” the post reads in part. The restaurant will continue to be run by the chef’s family, which includes his sons Keita and Kousuke and his wife Emiko.

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