Born and raised into a family restaurant (izakaya) business, Taiki Nakajima worked as a nutritionist and then in various restaurants in his hometown of Tokyo, Japan.

Then when he was 23, Taiki took off to India on a journey that sparked interest in getting to know and speak with people from around the world. Since the only English phrases really knew were "Yes", "No" and "I don't know", he decided to start learning English from his ABCs at a language school in San Francisco. After getting the basics down, Taiki headed to Australia for his next journey. There, he began to seriously enjoy making food and soon became the head chef of a popular local cafe in Melbourne.

Marrying his wife, Andrea, landed him in her hometown of Philadelphia, where he got his first job in the United States at High Street on Market and began to learn the American kitchen. Together, they backpacked around Europe (Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland), East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia) and also Mexico on a journey to follow Taiki's passion for food and discover local, authentic cuisine.

During a road trip around the US, Taiki decided he wanted to open his own food cart in Portland and started working at a ramen shop to first get settled. Then after six months of living in Portland, his father called Taiki back to Japan to help out at the family business since they were a bit short-handed. Still thinking he wanted to open a ramen food truck, he returned to Portland and realized it was difficult if not impossible to make ramen broth from scratch in a food cart.

Wondering what his next idea would be, Taiki and Andrea set off yet again to explore the southern area of Japan called Kyushu. "What is real Japanese food?", "How can I express and share my culture and the genuine flavors of Japan?" "What is something people could enjoy in their everyday life?" These questions led Taiki to... sando!



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