K E V I N C O R Y
C h e f o f J a p a n e s e C u i s i n e
At the age of 19, Kevin Cory started to learn Japanese Cuisine from Executive Chef, Nobuo Kase. Nobuo Kase was experienced in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan where Kaiseki Ryori, the most sophisticated of Japanese cuisine is found.
Due to uncontrollable circumstances, Kevin Cory and his first mentor, Nobuo Kase were unable to continue together, which initially seemed unfortunate.
Kevin Cory: “I was truly forced to figure things out by myself, yet remained on a path to express each ingredient's characteristics and the balance of a dish as a whole. During the first several years as an inexperienced chef to have confronted many challenges without an experienced instructor and to have only followed an inherited philosophy became invaluable.”
After several years of self study, Kevin Cory traveled to Toyama, Japan to be reunited with his Uncle and next mentor, Yasushi Naoe, Executive Chef of Kawai Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn with a reservation-only Kaiseki restaurant and formal tea ceremony. Yasushi Naoe first worked as an itamae (head chef) in 1954 at the revered Asadaya Ryokan.
Kevin Cory: “I cannot even begin to explain the tremendous amount of respect I have for him.. But to try; with 45 years of experience and at 64 years young, my Uncle would wake up, do sit-ups, dumbbell arm curls, twisting, stretching, etc. He would make us breakfast and then speed-walk to Kawai Ryokan, the hotel. Once we arrived, he worked at an intense pace with incredible precision and passion. After the lunch shift, he loved to ride his bicycle and let me mention, Toyama means Rich Mountain.
Later we would return for the Kaiseki dinner reservations. His passion would continue to keep him running and sliding all around the kitchen and then speed walk back home to do more sit-ups, dumbbell arm curls, twisting, stretching, etc and then go to sleep. This repeated daily.
To have witnessed my Uncle's quality of life, passion as a chef, knowledge and talent was an honor and a tremendous inspiration.”
(above: Yasushi Naoe and Kevin Cory stop on a small plateau in Toyama)
After returning from Japan, Kevin Cory aimed to take the most challenged sushi bar, Siam River and transform it into Miami's best. Of course first Kevin Cory had to earn the owners' respect to attempt such a dramatic transformation. In late 2001, Siam River remodeled their sushi bar and allowed Kevin Cory to take control.
Kevin Cory: “The timing to prove myself in Miami could not have been any better or more difficult, due to the biggest sushi names in the country, Nobu, Bond Street, and Sushi Samba had opened in Miami at this same time. There could be no excuses to have bullied a weak market which made my mission to earn critics' respect even more exciting.”
From Valentine's Day of 2002, Kevin Cory started the home printing of his all fresh dated daily Sushi A La Carte menu with signature dishes and 8 sake categories to be placed only on the sushi bar. Sushi-aficionados soon gathered for what was considered, Miami's best kept secret. Unfortunately, without having any previous positive momentum, transforming a negative image with zero advertising, zero public relations, being inside of an unstylish Thai restaurant thats in an out of the way location, the dramatic transformation did not immediately hit The Miami New Times. Siam River was not recognized as The Miami New Times' Best of Miami for 2003.
After the disappointment, Kevin Cory emailed The Miami New Times an invitation to experience the difference of his sushi and was not replied to. Several months later, The Miami New Times food critic, Pamela Robin Brandt anonymously dined at Siam River's sushi bar and wrote a Feature story in The Miami New Times December 25 - 31, 2003 issue, "Some Serious Sushi".
December 26, 2003; The Miami Herald Weekend "Micro Rave" review of Kevin Cory is written by Hal and Nancy Berritt.
February 2004; Siam River was 1 of 4 restaurants nominated for the category of Best Local Restaurant in The South Beach Wine & Food Festival's First Annual Award Ceremony, hosted by Emeril Lagasse.
May 2004; The Miami New Times Best of Miami 2004 Best Sushi was awarded to Siam River.
May 2004; The Miami New Times awarded two Chefs with a Best of Miami 2004 Personal Best. The Personal Best for Finest Foods was awarded to Kevin Cory. The Personal Best for Restaurants was awarded to Norman Van Aken.
February 27, 2005; Kevin Cory with Siam River participated in The South Beach Wine & Food Festival as a Grand Tasting Restaurant and prepared:
"Simmered Live Manilla Clams with Homemade Rice Bran-Pickled Daikon, Salt-Pickled Apricot
May 2005; The Miami New Times Best of Miami 2005 Best Sushi was awarded to Siam River.
November 20, 2005; Kevin Cory participated in the Consulate General of Japan in Miami's 2005 Kagoshima Festival for a cooking demonstration of Kaiseki Ryori.
December 9, 2005; The City of Miami Mayor, Manuel A. Diaz and Commission Chair, Joe Sanchez presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Kevin Cory to pay tribute for creative involvement in promoting social and cultural exchanges between the peoples of Kagoshima and Miami.
January 2006; Kevin Cory created exclusive catering and restaurant services, Kamakura™ & NAOE®.
July 2006; Kevin Cory traveled to Kanazawa, Japan to reunite with family and discuss the opening of his first restaurant, NAOE®.
(above: Kevin Cory at Yamanoo Ryokan, Kanazawa)
February 25, 2007; Kevin Cory participated in the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival as a Grand Tasting Restaurant for NAOE ® and prepared:
"Nichiei Sake-Fermented Caribbean Spiny Lobster with Granddad's Corn-Soy Bridge
April 2007; Sunny Isles Beach location was canceled due to City parking issue.
September 2008; Miami Beach location was canceled due to City garbage issue.
March 19, 2009; A new era has begun with the quiet opening of NAOE® on Sunny Isles Boulevard.
April 26, 2009; Food For Thought Miami food writer, Frodnesor first reviewed NAOE®.
May 1, 2009; UrbanDaddy reviewed NAOE®.
May 20, 2009; The Miami New Times restaurant critic and multiple IACP award winner, Lee Klein emailed Kevin Cory to ask the meaning of the kanji characters that are part of NAOE's logo and blogged it in The Story of Naoe.
May 21, 2009; The Miami New Times restaurant critic, Lee Klein reviewed NAOE®:
"The chef's bento box is perhaps the best American restaurant value since David Chang debuted Momofuku in New York."
June 22, 2009; Gastrolust food writer, Jay Friedman reviewed NAOE®:
"unlike anything I’ve experienced in Seattle. In fact, you’d probably have to hunt carefully to enjoy such an experience in Tokyo."
July 2009; NAOE® becomes eligible for OpenTable Diners' Choice and voted in Miami - Dade County as:
July 16, 2009; The Miami Herald restaurant critic, Victoria Pesce Elliot reviewed NAOE®:
"Miami's most serious sushi shrine"
"(matcha snapper) had the shocking depth of flavor that makes dining here a revelation."
"thrilling and almost embarrassingly affordable experience"
"Cory's style is his own -- and one that Miami should be grateful to enjoy."
"With only seventeen seats, one cook, and no menu, NAOE [na-o-éh] is a restaurant unlike any other in South Florida."
August 2009; OpenTable Diners' Choice for Miami - Dade County voted NAOE® as Best Service Restaurants - #1.
September 4, 2009; Miami New Times food writer, Jackie Sayet blogged NAOE® in Short Order.
September 2009; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as Fit For Foodies Restaurants - #1.
October | November 2009; City & Shore Magazine rated NAOE® in TOP 10 NEW RESTAURANTS by Jan Norris.
October 10, 2009; yelpers rated NAOE® as Best of yelp Miami Japanese Restaurants, Highest Rated - #1.
October 10, 2009; yelpers rated NAOE® as Best of yelp Miami Sushi, Highest Rated - #1.
Fall/Winter 2009; Toyota Connections Magazine - Take a Bigger Bite of Japan:
"Sugiyama, New York KAI, New York NAOE, Miami Makoto, Washington D.C. Shiro's Sushi, Seattle"
October 2009; Zagat Survey debuted NAOE® without ratings in ZAGAT America's Top Restaurants 2010.
November 2009; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
November 2009; Gayot critic, Pamela Robin Brandt selected NAOE® in Miami, Florida 72-Hour Vacation:
"this year's hottest insider pick is tiny NAOE"
December 2009; Florida Trend selected NAOE® for Best Newcomers.
December 2009; OpenTable Diners' Choice for Miami - Dade County voted NAOE® as Best Service Restaurants - #1.
December 2009; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
December 28, 2009; UrbanDaddy selected NAOE® for a year ending Oh, Nine | Everything That Was Important in 2009 | Miami:
"the dining scene's most exciting newcomer."
January 1, 2010; Food For Thought Miami selected NAOE® in A List For the New Year as Most Unexpected Discovery:
"There is, quite simply, nothing else like it in Miami."
January 1, 2010; Gastrolust selected NAOE® in Top 10 Seattle (and beyond) restaurant experiences of 2009:
"It’s better than any Japanese food I’ve had in Seattle."
January 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for Miami - Dade County voted NAOE® as:
January 10, 2010; yelpers rated NAOE® as Best of yelp Miami Restaurants, Highest Rated - #1.
January 2010; Gayot rated NAOE® - TWO TOQUES.
"always comparable in quality to those in New York or Japan's best"
January 2010; Gayot selected NAOE® for:
- Best Heart-Healthy Restaurants Miami - #1 (TIE)
February 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for Miami - Dade County voted NAOE® as Fit For Foodies Restaurants - #1.
February 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
February 2010; Aventura Magazine featured NAOE® in Turning Japanese.
March 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as Fit For Foodies Restaurants - #1.
March 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for Miami - Dade County voted NAOE® as:
March 2010: Gayot selected NAOE® for Top 10 Japanese Restaurants in Miami / South Florida - #1.
March 19, 2010; NAOE® has its First Year Anniversary!
April 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
April 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for Miami - Dade County voted NAOE® as:
April 15, 2010; NBC Miami Feast Rank included NAOE® in humorous article, Big Ticket Eats.
April 2010; NBC Miami Feast Rank formulated NAOE® as Top Ranked #1 restaurant in Miami.
May 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
May 2010; Gayot selected NAOE® for Top 10 Late Night Restaurants in Miami / South Florida - #1
June 17, 2010; The Miami New Times Best of Miami 2010 Best Japanese Restaurant was awarded to NAOE®.
June 24, 2010; The Miami New Times "Ten of our 100 Favorite Foods in Miami" selected the Bento Box at NAOE®.
July/August 2010; Miami / Modern Luxury selected Kevin Cory in "5 Chefs We Love".
July 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
July 2010; Delta Sky Magazine selected NAOE in Up, with a Twist bicoastal hot spots.
August 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
August 31, 2010; Frommer's Florida 2011 by Lesley Abravanel rated NAOE® 3/3 stars.
September 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
September 22, 2010; Frommer's South Florida by Lesley Abravanel selected NAOE® as Best Sushi.
October 1, 2010; eHow selected NAOE® in Most Exclusive Restaurants in Miami.
October 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
November 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice for All Miami / Southeast Florida voted NAOE® as:
November 10, 2010; Miami's Restaurant Power Rankings rated NAOE® 20.0 - #1 each week for the past year.
November 16, 2010; Forbes (f.k.a. Mobil) Travel Guide 2011 rated NAOE® Four Stars,
December 2010; Florida Trend selected NAOE® for the Golden Spoon Award.
December 16, 2010; OpenTable Diners' Choice 2010 Annual Awards voted NAOE® as:
February 2011; Ocean Drive Magazine selected NAOE® in Eat Like a Local.
February 2011; Fairmont Magazine selected NAOE® in Miami Eat.
February 28, 2011; OpenTable Diners' Choice 2011 Annual Awards voted NAOE® as:
May 2011; Colion (Germany) featured NAOE® in Urban Inspiration Miami.
August 2, 2011; Tishman & Speyer signed the lease with NAOE® to relocate to Brickell Key in 2012.
September 12, 2011; Kevin Cory traveled to Manhattan to reunite with relative Nakamura Brewery president, Tarosan for a sake tasting at the Warwick New York Hotel and to discuss the upcoming relocation of NAOE® to Brickell Key.
(above: Taro Nakamura, Kevin and Kal Cory at the Warwick New York Hotel sake tasting)
September 25, 2011; TripAdvisor members rated NAOE® - #1 of 18 restaurants in Sunny Isles Beach, FL.
October 25, 2011; Fodor's South Florida 2012 selected NAOE® for their top recommendation, Fodor's Choice Award.
October 31, 2011; New York Post selected NAOE® in 10 Things to Eat in Miami Right Now.
November 1, 2011; Zagat Survey debuts numerical score of 29/30 for NAOE® in ZAGAT 2012 America's Top Restaurants.
November 15, 2011; Forbes Travel Guide 2012 rated NAOE® Four Stars,
a great honor
placing NAOE® in
December 13, 2011; OpenTable diners voted NAOE® in the Top 100 Restaurants in the USA of 2011.
December 20, 2011; Q by Equinox features NAOE® in The Miami Diet.
December 31, 2011; NAOE® was forced to close business due to eminent domain.
February 16, 2012; Eater National selected NAOE® in Nine Exceptional Omakase Menus Across the US.
March 5, 2012; Food & Wine nominated Kevin Cory for The People's Best New Chef 2012.
April 17, 2012; NAOE® quietly relocates to begin a new era in Brickell Key.
June 17, 2012; CNN's international travel website, CNNGo featured NAOE® in the Insider Guide: Best of Miami.
July 2012; Florida Trend selected NAOE® in Tables of Content: Exclusive Dining Around Florida.
August 2012; Yelpers rate NAOE® Five Stars upon One Hundred (100) reviews.
October 2012; Chefs Feed elite contributing chefs Michael Schwartz and Norman Van Aken recommend NAOE® as one of the
November 6, 2012; Zagat 2013 Miami rated NAOE® as Food 29/30 (#1) and Service 28/30 (#1).
December 2012; Florida Trend magazine selected NAOE® for the Golden Spoon Awards 2012.
December 3, 2012; Miami New Times Food Blog Short Order selected NAOE in Art Basel: Where to Find Beautiful Food in Miami.
December 2012; Travel + Leisure selected NAOE® in the Best Sushi Restaurants in the U.S.
December 12, 2012; OpenTable diners voted NAOE® in the Best Restaurants in the United States of 2012.
January 2013; Bon Appétit magazine selected NAOE® in Where to Eat and Drink in Miami.
January 14, 2013; New York Post featured NAOE® in Miami's New Heat: Five Reasons to Get Excited Right Now.
February 2013; Ocean Drive Magazine featured Kevin Cory in Umami, Please.
February 26, 2013; NAOE® became one of only twenty-eight (28) restaurants in the world
(above: 2/26/2013, NAOE staff at the Forbes Travel Guide Annual Ratings Announcement held at the Montage, Beverly Hills)
(above: 2/27/2013, NAOE staff at the celebration honoring the recipients of the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award at the Hotel Bel-Air, Beverly Hills)
March 1, 2013; Forbes Travel Guide interview of Kevin Cory in Miami Now Home To Five-Star Sushi Master.
March 5, 2013; OpenTable reveal Top 100 Best Service Restaurants in the United States and highlight
March 6, 2013; Miami New Times Short Order features NAOE® as #1 in Five Restaurants With the Best Service in Miami.
March 25, 2013; Miami New Times Short Order features Kevin Cory as #1 in Miami's Top Ten Chefs.
April 12, 2013; "The most important Spanish language newspaper globally, with more than 75M readers", ElMundo (Spain) Metropoli features NAOE® in NAOE, Una Joya Japonesa Escondida en Miami.
May/June 2013; South Florida Luxury Guide features Kevin Cory in Staycation & Vacation - EAT LOCAL.
May 24, 2013; Miami New Times Short Order features Kevin Cory in Tastemakers.
June 5, 2013; Kevin Cory traveled to Japan to give gratitude to those who greatly helped inspire NAOE® restaurant which recently achieved the revered Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award.
Kevin Cory: "I could not accept this special award and then not share it with my family who deeply inspired me. So I bought 4 extra plaques to give one to my mom and then carry the other three across Japan for my late chef uncle Yasushi's wife, Kiyoshi Naoe, the president of Naogen Shoyu, Shigeyuki Naoe and the president of Nakamura Shuzou, Taro Nakamura.
Giving the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award plaque to my aunt, Kiyoshi Naoe was one of the greatest moments of my life. She was very honored that I had came all the way to Japan to personally give this to her, very sad that my recently late uncle, Yasushi couldn't be present and very proud that he's still living on through me.”
(above left: Kiyoshi Naoe reading about Forbes Travel Guide's history and interview with Kevin Cory before receiving the surprise award plaque in Chiba, Tokyo.)
June 11, 2013; Miami New Times selected Kevin Cory as Best Sushi Chef 2013.
August 5, 2013; Zagat features NAOE® in Foodie Bucket List.
November 1, 2013; Louis Vuitton features NAOE® in their new Louis Vuitton City Guide Miami 2014.
"This is sushi as a near-religious experience."
January 22, 2014; NAOE® receives the highest honor in hospitality, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award for the second consecutive year.
(above: January 22 & 23, 2014, NAOE staff at the celebration honoring the recipients of
January 28, 2014; Haute Living Magazine Top 5 Sushi Restaurants in Miami selects NAOE® as #1.
February 18, 2014; MasterCard Love This City selects NAOE® for Romance.
Spring 2014; Visa Black Card Mag features NAOE® in:
"Get Hooked! Sushi Coast to Coast. On the Hunt for America's Top Spots for Serious Sushi."
CHEF KEVIN CORY:
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