Japanese native Mihoko Obunai developed her passion for cooking while living and working in Peru after graduating from New York University. Obunai attended the French Culinary Institute and trained at several acclaimed New York restaurants, including La Caravelle, under chef Cyril Renaud; L’Absinthe, Bayard’s; and Guastavino’s, under chef Daniel Orr. She cooked at the James Beard House twice during her tenure at Guastavino’s and once while at Repast Restaurant.
In early 2006, Obunai co-opened Repast, a chic eatery in midtown Atlanta. Obunai brought her Japanese influence, ingredients and techniques to the menu at Repast. After four successful years, Chef Obunai closed the restaurant to serve as a consultant for some of the city’s top restaurants and chefs. Most recently, she acted as a chef consultant for the reopening of Miso Izakaya’s Ramen Lunch, which Atlanta magazine would subsequently deem as having the “best ramen in Atlanta.”
Throughout Obunai’s career, she has been featured in various other publications, such as Bon Appétit magazine, Eater magazine and Food & Wine magazine. In 2010, she was selected as a “Rising Star Chef” by StarChefs and later competed on Food Network’s Chopped. In her next post, at Southbound restaurant in Atlanta, Chef Obunai infused Southern cuisine with Japanese flair and received a two-star review from AJC and Atlanta magazine.
Most recently, Chef Obunai has focused on her passion for ramen by opening Ramen Freak, a pop-up operation based out of Atlanta. The critics raved, “Ramen is not a game, and Obunai’s reputation as a master of the form precedes her. Having helmed successful ramen pop-ups nationwide, Obunai continues to amaze with her subtle blend of traditional technique and bold, savory innovation.”