Brandon Hayato Go was born in Santa Monica and grew up in the restaurant business. His father Kunio Go owns Koi in Seal Beach, a Japanese eatery that he opened back in 1980, and which has been in continuous operation ever since. The younger Go began working there in June 1993, when he was just 15 years old. After finishing high school, he went to UCLA and studied biology (mom wanted him to become a doctor), and kept manning the sushi bar throughout his college years. He graduated in 2000, and continued working at the family business, eventually becoming General Manager in 2003. In October that year, Go went to Tokyo and apprenticed at Yakushi Izakaya for four months, where he began to really explore the breadth of Japanese cuisine beyond sushi. Meanwhile, 2009 saw the Chef gain certifications in sake and soba from the Sake Education Council and the Tsukiji Soba Academy, respectively, all while he still was running Koi.
In October 2012, he interned for two months at Shiro in Omotesando under Chef Takeshi Kubo (of the new Goryu Kubo in Nishi-Azabu), who subsequently became an important friend and mentor (Kubo apparently supplied roughly a third of Hayato’s tableware). The following May, Go spent five weeks staging at Kagurazaka Ishikawa, under Chef Hideki Ishikawa. He returned for further training in October 2013, March 2014, and December 2016 (for osechi), and was also able to cook at Ishikawa’s other restaurants: Kohaku (headed by Kouji Koizumi) and Ren. Having worked in Japanese restaurants since his teenage years, Go had always wanted to have his own place, and thus started constructing Hayato at the end of 2016. He left his post at Koi in October 2017 in preparation for the restaurant’s 2018 opening.
Awards & Press
- Food & Wine Best New Chef
- Michelin 2 Stars