The man behind Ramen Culture is Mark Hoshi, an LA native originally born in Tokyo who followed a meandering path back to one of his motherland’s most iconic dishes: ramen.
Growing up, Mark actually didn’t feel strongly connected to his Japanese identity. On top of that, the struggle of avoiding a tumultuous home life led him to occasionally get in trouble with the law. Structure and stability eventually came in the form of regularly attending church with a former partygoer friend. After a brief stint in the clergy, Mark made his way to Japan in search of job opportunity.
It turned out to be great timing, as his uncle was in the process of starting a business in hospitality. He offered Mark the opportunity to eventually manage the business, but on one condition: that he start off as a dishwasher. Restarting a career at age 30 as a dishwasher is a humbling experience indeed, but it’s what gave Mark the gift of believing in the possibilities afforded by hard work.
At the same time, Mark knew his wife would miss Japanese food after they move back to the United States so he started learning how to cook ramen. With these forces propelling him forward, Mark enrolled in ramen school eventually spending time working at Menya Itto, a top ramen shop in Tokyo.
After spending a decade in Japan, Mark returned home with the knowledge to fill in the gaps in American’s understanding of authentic Japanese ramen culture. With the perspective he’s gained, he sees many opportunities in the U.S. for expanding Americans’ tastes and knowledge of ramen. Mark’s hopes are to move the conversation forward and leave his own mark on ramen culture.