Founder of Itacho Sushi, Ricky San passes away in Tokyo on 2nd April

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Insert picture: Ricky San

15th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s renowned culinary figure and founder of Itacho Sushi, Ricky Cheng Wai-tao, affectionately known as “Ricky San”, has passed away in Tokyo, Japan on 2nd April. Ricky, who gained fame as the first Hong Kong individual to acquire the highly sought-after “Nippon Ichi” bluefin tuna, had been battling pancreatic cancer during recent years. The news of his demise was shared by Edmund Leung, President of King of Catering (Group) Limited, on social media five days ago.

Cheng, began his culinary journey in Japan before returning to Hong Kong in 1992 to establish a Japanese-style pancake shop. Over time, he expanded his empire to encompass twenty branches. In 1996, he transitioned his business into a franchised operation, introducing Ajisen Ramen, a popular ramen chain, to Hong Kong.

In 2004, Cheng ventured into the world of sushi by founding Itacho Sushi. He later made appearances on television programs, including those aired on TVB. In 2007, he achieved another milestone by opening Itacho Sushi, a high-end Japanese cuisine restaurant, which played a pivotal role in popularising Japanese gastronomy in Hong Kong. Notably, in 2008, he made headlines by securing the prestigious “Nippon Ichi” title for a bluefin tuna at the Tsukiji Fish Market with a winning bid of HK$430,000. This remarkable feat made him the first Hong Kong resident to acquire this distinguished accolade, further establishing his prominence in the culinary world.

However, in 2017, Ricky’s life took a downturn as he became embroiled in a legal dispute, during which he publicly revealed his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.