“I grew up with a mother who wasn’t too interested in cooking so I don’t have food from my childhood that I am nostalgic for,” says Ivan Orkin, the chef and owner of two New York City restaurants: Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Hell’s Kitchen and his NYC flagship noodle joint, Ivan Ramen, in the Lower East Side. “My dad did make a mean bowl of spaghetti and meatballs so that would always be on the stove when I got home from college, but all of my go-to meals are Japanese.” Before he started influencing the New York ramen scene, Orkin spent 30 years obsessing over the soup that has launched untold miles of foodie lines, opening his first wildly successful—if unlikely—Ivan Ramen shop in Japan in 2007. (Among Orkin's devotees are David Chang, who wrote his 2013 book’s forward.) Now, going from ballsy foreigner trying to break into the country's cult-esque ramen scene to one of Japan’s most sought noodle bowls has had a lasting impact on what Orkin puts in his home fridge—and, especially, his stomach.
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