Brazilians’ admiration for Japanese culture has long influenced the cuisine of Rio de Janeiro. In the early 2000’s, temakerias began to flourish in beachfront neighborhoods such as Leblon and Ipanema. These were casual lounges, dimly lit but electric with a late night, stylish crowd. Serving drinks and temaki, hand-rolled sushi cones filled with high quality fish and fresh vegetables, the temakerias sated Brazilians’ appetite for innovative, delicious food. Inspired by the temakerias of Brazil, Uma Temakeria combines the joie de vivre of Brazil and reverent hospitality and attention to detail of Japan into a unique culinary experience. Uma means ‘delicious’ in Japanese and ‘one’ in Portuguese. The range and depth of flavor in Uma temaki makes each bite not only delicious, but complete and wholly satisfying. Acclaimed chef Chris Jaeckle has created signature rolls as well as an à la carte menu, so customers can design their own temaki creations. Each roll is made to order – to eat-in or takeaway – with ethically sourced ingredients. Uma Temakeria’s global outlook prioritizes sustainability and respect for our ecosystem. In Japan there is an understanding that complete nourishment requires mindful preparation and presentation. This regard has transcended continent and culture, moving from the tranquil spaces of Tokyo to the lively lounges of Rio and now Uma Temakeria in New York. An ever-evolving city, New York is unified by its people’s appreciation for varied cultures, languages, and lifestyles. Uma upends tradition and celebrates the progressive food culture and cosmopolitanism that epitomizes our city.
Chef Chris Jaeckle has worked with Danny Meyer at Eleven Madison Park and Michael White at Ai Fiori, where he was chef de cuisine. His interest in Asian flavors drew him to Morimoto, where he spent three years preparing sushi rice with the precision and reverence for process that typifies Japanese cuisine. In addition to rice preparation, Chef made family meals for the staff. Following Japanese tradition, these meals – temaki – were simpler versions of the night’s more complicated dishes. He experimented with new combinations of rice, nori, and fish, playing with flavors and textures. After years of crafting (and eating) this staple comfort food in all its endless variations, Chef began to think of opening his own temakeria.
Cynthia Kueppers’ interests are rooted in business and ecology. As an entrepreneur and investment banker, she has worked in financial markets in Europe, Russia, and the Latin America. As an environmentalist, she has supported reforestation projects in Panama and other parts of Latin America. She was first introduced to temaki by her business school friend Humberto Soares, while they traveled near his family’s home in Brazil. In the US she felt the lack of fast, fresh sushi options and envisioned Uma Temakeria as not only a new generation of fast food, but also an opportunity to improve and revolutionize the seafood supply chain. By using fish from ocean-friendly fisheries, she hopes to create a greater consumer demand for responsible sourcing.
With the same desire to bring temaki culture to the US, Chris and Cynthia eventually met through mutual friends. They then connected with Teiji Fujii, a brand strategist whose passion for temaki extends from his childhood in Echizen, Japan, to his farm in Chile, where he now throws regular temaki parties. With a blessing from Teiji’s father, a Buddhist monk, Uma Temakeria was born.