“I think it was really good to get my feelings hurt.” -Chef Bun Lai
Welcome to Chef Lab, a short documentary series profiling dynamic food makers, made in partnership with HLN. Over the next few months, we’ll get inside the minds of chefs on a personal mission to chart new territories in our culinary landscape. Whether driven by single-minded purpose or moral conviction, we will showcase chefs who are dramatically reimagining our approach to food, sustainability and cultural authenticity.
Meet Chef Bun Lai, the wildly innovative and sustainably-conscious hunter-gatherer behind Miya’s Sushi, the James Beard-nominated Japanese restaurant that’s lighting up New Haven, CT. I guarantee everything you eat at Miya’s Sushi has been thoughtfully considered. For your health. And for the health of the planet. There’s no other restaurant quite like it. From the driftwood-repurposed dinnerware to the brown rice only sushi, you immediately realize this place is different: more personal; one might even say more empathetic. There is a level of caring that transcends attentive service. For Bun Lai, his family’s restaurant will always be more than just a place to eat. It’s a space to educate customers on things that are very dear to him: the health of the land, the abundance of the sea, the importance of personal connection. Miya’s has become the beating heart of Chef Bun Lai’s creative mission to, literally, eat away at earth’s environmental problems by creating an appetite for invasive species. An endeavor that is not only surprisingly nutritious, but exciting for your palate too! I’ve never tried so many interesting edibles.
And this mission is the reason for Miya’s authenticity. A mission that, initially, came at a cost: Bun admits their radical approach was no overnight sensation. It took awhile for customers to take to their non-traditional menu that refuses to serve the usual. But, as you’ll see, getting his feelings hurt was worth it.