Restaurateur: Philip Yang
Philip Yang owner and Restaurateur, opened the doors to Sasa in downtown Walnut Creek in April of 2010. Philip has owned and operated Japanese Restaurants since 1986. For the past 14 years he has created some of the BEST sushi in the East Bay starting with Blue Gingko, Lafayette. His success at Blue Gingko, would eventually lead to opening Sasa, his Izakaya dream restaurant.
Izakaya is a relaxed style of dining. It is centered on Japanese inspired flavors that combine with the freshness and availability of each season. There is distinctive elegance and depth to the dishes that are, at the same time, simple and approachable. Philip has always been known for the freshest of fish at his restaurants. Much of the selection comes straight for the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.
At Sasa, it will be a challenge to make your way through the entire menu in one or two visits. There is a lot to experience and Philip’s promise to guests at Sasa is to keep the food and the restaurant atmosphere fun & unpretentious. He invites you to drop in for a drink after work, share a few small plates and enjoy a relaxing change of pace.
Philip’s dream of bringing Izakaya to Walnut Creek has been successful and allowed him to open Blue Gingko, Blackhawk, and upcoming in 2014 Yang will open his newest restaurant location in Dublin, California.
General Manager: Shannon Hargis
As General Manager, Shannon has been with Sasa since its opening in 2010 and offers a longstanding passion for service and hospitality. Her experience spans over 20 years growing up in restaurants owned by her family. Her practical experience comes from a strong work ethic and her high standard for guest relations comes from a keen sense of awareness and attention to detail. She has worked at various restaurants in downtown Walnut Creek for the past 13 years and has made it her home away from home.
Entertaining has become a passion for Shannon expressed through the many private events held throughout the year at Sasa. Social by nature, she loves to be around good people, good food, wine and sake. She has an inviting character that will bring you back to see her.
Shannon is married with two children and lives in the North Bay. She is a graduate of Humboldt State University where she studied Micro Biology and Botany. In her spare time she loves to garden, camp, golf and spend time with her family and friends.
Executive Chef: Paul Liao
Chef Paul grew up in a “food fanatic” family from Taiwan, and spent his adolescent years in Switzerland where people took their food very seriously. After spending those formative years in Europe, Chef Paul learned that eating well did not mean eating lavishly; however, it meant consuming the best ingredients during the peak season while gathering with friends and loved ones.
After graduating from Boston University, he obtained a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. After graduation, he worked in several notable restaurants including James Beard Award winning restaurant, Salamander, in Boston, MA, which specialized in Asian fusion cuisine under Chef Stan Frankenthalr. Then, he moved to California and landed a chef de partie position at Aqua in San Francisco and worked under Chef Laurant Monrique when it received 2 Michelin stars. From that point on, he moved to the East Bay and worked as a sous chef at Pearl Oyster Bar in Oakland, CA, where it received a 3-star review from the SF Chronicle.
In 2007 Chef Paul worked as the executive chef of Metro Lafayette in Lafayette, CA. During his time at Metro, the restaurant received a 2.5-star from the SF Chronicle and was one of the first restaurants recommended by the Michelin Guide in the East Bay.
In the past two years, Chef Paul had been working as the Executive Chef of Imagine Culinary Group at Marvell Semiconductor in Santa Clara, CA, where he catered to some of the most well known names in the high tech industry while still maintaining the strict standards he learned growing up all over the world.
Upon joining Sasa, Chef Paul would like to continue sharing his passion and obsession for good food and good times with anyone who walks through the door. Currently Chef Paul resides in San Leandro, CA, with his wife Jessy, and cat, Marco.
Executive Sushi Chef: Jason Shimizu
Jason Shimizu was born and raised in San Francisco. His parents owned and operated restaurants in San Francisco and culinary arts quickly became a part of his life. Shimizu worked as a dishwasher starting at the age of sixteen and after working for hotel Nikko for three years he left to Japan at the age of 20. While in Japan Shimizu was trained in many methods of authentic Japanese cuisine including Izakaya. His attributes discovered while in Japan lead to Shimizu’s position as Executive Sushi Chef at Sasa.
Chef Shimizu inspects the quality of fish delivered to Sasa daily. Shimizu’s traditionally trained knife and butchering skills rival som of the best. So whether you are looking for a unique Omakase personal dining experience at the Sushi Bar: or some Maki and Nigiri in the dining room, trust Shimizu will deliver only the best quality at Sasa.
Chef Shimizu is married with one son and two daughters and lives in the East Bay. Shimizu enjoys spending time with his family and playing an occasional round of golf with friends.