Before Steve Jobs died in October, he made one last hire: a sushi chef for Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.
He hired Toshi Sakuma, the chef and owner of a Menlo Park restaurant called Kaygetsu.
A regular at Kaygetsu tells us: “I ate there many times and also at his previous Menlo Park restaurant which was Toshi’s Sushiya. [I] saw Jobs there eating by himself a lot.”
Kaygetsu specialised in omakaze-style meals, which consist of a dozen or so courses of seafood delicacies.
Sakuma joined Apple in November.
UPDATE: A reader provides some very interesting, though unconfirmed details below:
Steve Jobs SAVED the restaurant, he didn’t close it. It was already due to close and when he found out that was going to be the case, my understanding is that he bought it (and I am not sure if the transaction was done personally or corporately) and had Toshi come into Cafe Mac at One Infinite Loop right away while he was still living before the restaurant fully closed. Jobs was already a huge regular not just in the restaurant but also ordering take out and picking it up personally.
Also, Jobs didn’t always eat there alone. He frequently came in with family members, had several dinners with friends and associates, and there are numerous known occasions in which he booked out the entire restaurant to conduct Apple board meetings there. The place was right on Sand Hill Road and was a well-established spot for the peninsula elite and it was often said he even brought in pre-release items there and showed them to the owners. Toshi and Steve had a very special bond that was rooted in their mutual appreciation for artistry and zen sensibilities. This was not just some random place to him.
Update Two: Keiko Sakuma, Toshi’s wife and restaurant co-owner, has responded to the above comment with some clarifications:
This is what actually happened: We decided to sell the restaurant to change our life style – to have less stress. The restaurant was very successful; but it required a lot of attention. We felt that it was time to change our lifestyle. In March of 2011, we had a buyer that we were negotiating. However, right after the earthquake in Japan, our buyer backed out at the last minute. That same day, Steve came in to have lunch. He somehow found out about the restaurant being on sale and offered Toshi a job at Apple. Toshi told him that the restaurant has to be sold first before he can work for Apple and not sure how long that would take. Steve said, “That’s fine.” Fortunately, another buyer came along; and the sale was finalised in early October of 2011; and our last day of business happened to be the day of Steve’s funeral.
Steve has been very good to us, being one of our regular customers for many years. We didn’t treat him any different from other customers; and I regret that I had to turn him away many times when we didn’t have seats for him and his guests. But, I think he liked the fact that he wasn’t getting any special treatment.
Toshi now works at Apple. He has his evenings and weekends free – to play golf or do whatever he feels like. Steve has given Toshi a new life. For that, Toshi is very grateful.
Keiko Sakuma (Toshi’s wife)
Here’s the note he and his wife sent Kaygetsu patrons announcing its closing and Sakuma’s move to Apple: