Ivan Orkin is the noodle-obsessed restaurateur from Long Island who, remarkably for a ‘gaijin’ foreigner, became a culinary marvel after opening two ramen joints in Tokyo, the first in 2007. “As a white guy from New York opening a shop in the heart of ramen land, I dealt with some pretty hard customers,” he muses. “But New York’s the same there I’m still a white guy making ramen trying to convince people that I can cook noodles.” In today’s film that is inspired by the seminal Japanese ‘noodle Western’ Tampopo, director Jake Sumner captures Orkin’s stateside debut, the Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop at Gotham West Market in Hell’s Kitchen; coincidentally, during his early days in Japan, Orkin taught English to Tampopo’s female star, Nobuko Miyamoto. Back in Japan, the chef’s bespectacled profile is emblazoned on his own best-selling range of Sapporo Ichiban instant ramen, seducing the public from local supermarket aisles with his rye-flecked, Jewish deli-influenced noodles.
Emm, editor of The List.