Greenville NC’s Master Sushi Chef


Gui “Leo” Chen of Shogun Japanese Restaurant in Greenville NC

The food at Shogun Japanese Restaurant in Greenville looks almost too good to eat. But that’s just Leo’s personal touch and he wants you to enjoy every bite of his delightfully-decorated sashimi and nigri sushia.

Gui “Leo” Chen is Shogun’s Master Sushi Chef, owner, and business manager, who creates and serves lovely works of art for patrons to this popular sushi restaurant on Arlington Boulevard. “Sushi is great food, shashimi with vinegar, soy sauce, different textures, it’s all a pleasure to make for me.”

A sushi chef is commonly required to have knowledge and experience in preparing all varieties of meat, game, seafood and poultry. Their expertise is typically expected to include the successful preparation of mother sauces, stocks and soups. Being able to develop and implement their own recipes or variations of classic recipes is important to the success of a sushi chef. Education for sushi chefs includes traditional culinary school training coupled with working as an apprentice for a master or senior sushi chef.

Leo, who is actually Chinese, has been a sushi chef for 18 years and arrived in Greenville about 10 years ago. He tried the local sushi and wasn’t impressed.

“Ten years ago I travelled through Greenville and tried a sushi restaurant and the food wasn’t very good,” he recalls, adding “I liked the location and now here, I am an Greenville guy. People trust me and people trust our food. We do not have customer issues because our fish is fresh. No one gets sick from the food. I tell my vendors, it’s either fresh, or it’s free, I won’t pay for it.”

For those just being introduced to Japanese food, sashimi is sliced raw fish served without rice. Sashimi should be eaten with chopsticks and can be eaten with wasabi mixed into the soy sauce. Nigiri sushi is sliced raw fish with a molded ball of rice underneath. Only the fish side of the nigiri should be dipped into soy sauce and it can be eaten with your hands.

Even if you are not a fish lover, you’ll find plenty of variety with vegetable, meat and chicken dishes on the menu. A full bar and private dining area enhance the dining experience, while a courteous wait staff helps the newcomer through the menu selections.

Along with the staff of 15 at Shogun, Leo’s wife, father and brother work along side him. “My father and brother lived in Japan for 5 years and studied,” he says.

What make Shogun unique, Leo says, is “we have something here for everyone, of all ages. We help our special customers who need gluten-free food, or have shellfish allergies. We care about that. We have older customers and even families who bring babies and we work hard to make all of them happy.”

Anyone who has ever managed or owned a restaurant understands it’s a working life with long hours and few vacations. “In order to keep good quality, I have to be here all the time. It’s important to make sure the food is fresh and the customers are happy,” he says.

Shogun Japanese Restaurant is located at 420 E. Arlington Blvd. Lunches and dinners, including carry-out, are available and the full service bar is a nice place to relax for a meal. Private dining can be reserved for your party as well. For private dining reservations, call 252-565-8818. Otherwise, just stop by and enjoy the beautiful, healthy food.



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