During Mutsuko Soma’s childhood in Tochigi, Japan, she watched closely as her grandmother made noodles from their homegrown rice and buckwheat. Her love for noodles stuck with her as she moved to the States to attend California State University, Northridge in 2001. After one year, Soma transferred to culinary school at the Art Institute of Seattle. Upon graduation, She spent time at some of the best restaurants in Seattle, including Harvest Vine, Saito, and Chez Shea. But as time passed, Soma worried that she would miss the opportunity to train in her home country, and so, she flew to Japan. Soma enrolled in an intensive soba-making course, where she learned everything from soba history to the buckwheat milling process.
She returned to the states determined to share her talent. In 2013, Soma opened Japanese gastropub Miyabi 45th in Seattle, featuring her handmade soba noodles. Soma left the restaurant in 2016 to take care of her new born child. Even during her time off, she continued to pick up steam with her pop-up dinners and noodle making classes. Her much anticipated soba restaurant, Kamonegi, opened in 2017, followed by a sake bar in 2019 called Hannyatou, next door. Soma is a certified Sake Sommelier (Kikizakeshi), has passed the WSET Level III, and is also a certified Shochu Advisor. She was recognized as one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2019.