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Our Team

Village Sake has assembled a truly great team.

Executive Chef Scott Whitman’s passion for Japanese food began while opening a restaurant in Osaka, Japan. He’s travelled through Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan exploring culture and cuisine and developing his unique cooking style. He earned a Michelin Star in 2007 & 2008 and was featured at the famed James Beard House in 2010 and 2014. Now, after 15 years as executive chef at the beloved Sushi Ran in Sausalito, he is excited to bring his unique style to Village Sake. 

Partnering with Chef Whitman is Scott Porter, a lifelong Fairfax resident and local firefighter with strong ties to the community. Our designer, Jim Maxwell of Architects II, helped us draw from the best elements of the classic Izakaya to develop a relaxed but refined atmosphere that exists nowhere else in Marin.

Consulting Manager Darrin Sander (Sushi Ran, Evangeline) of Eat Drink Works brought his management and service expertise to our operation. Darrin Sander honed our operations for our first 18 months. He's moved on to his own project, Craft & Gather, in Spokane Washington.

Our management team now consists of Scott Porter, Ying Chiu, and Hiromi Higuchi, a certified sake sommelier previously with Sushi Ran, Kusakabe and True Sake Store.


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Chef Scott Whitman

Scott grew up in Marin County, California, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

His experiences in the kitchen began at the age of sixteen at a local seafood restaurant.

After finishing high school, Scott attended the College of Marin for general business studies. He later entered the California Culinary Academy. During this period and for knowledge and experience, Scott also did stagiaire work at places such as Masa’s, Stars, and Campton Place. He graduated from the California Culinary Academy with honors.

Scott began working early on in his career at several notable San Francisco bay area restaurants. Upon graduation, Scott took the position of Saucier at the Casa Madrona restaurant. His experience continued by taking a position in the opening crew of Kuleto’s restaurant. During that year, Scott went to work for Real Restaurants at their Fog City Diner, accepting a sous chef position.

During these years, working for this restaurant group, Scott also did stints at some of their other restaurants such as Mustards, Bix, and Tra Vigne, as well as helping open the Fog City Diner in Osaka, Japan. After returning from Japan, Scott took a sous chef position at their newest restaurant: the Bistro Roti.

Upon leaving Real Restaurants, Scott accepted an executive chef position at the Harbour Village, a 5-star beach resort on the island of Bonaire, in the Dutch Caribbean. While there, he had the unique opportunity to meet and prepare foods for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the royal Family.

Opportunity led Scott to accept an executive chef position in Hawaii, where he was involved in the development and opening of Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar on the waterfront of downtown Honolulu. During this period, Scott’s food was featured in the fashionable Island Home Magazine as well as being chosen for a guest appearance on the popular, local cooking show, Hari’s Kitchen.

To further his culinary interests, Scott has also spent time travelling through Asia, to destinations such as Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, which has greatly influenced his style of creative foods.

After returning to the Bay Area, Scott was offered the position of executive chef at Sushi Ran in Sausalito, where he flourished for 15 years.

Other notable culinary accolades and achievements include:

Sushi Ran earned San Francisco Chronicle top 100 restaurants yearly since 2004.
Earned a Michelin Star 2007 & 2008.
A member of a U.S. culinary team that won the silver medal at the World  Culinary  Competition in Taipei in 2009.
Guest chef at the Culinary Institute of America World of Flavors 2009.
A chef’s appearance at the James Beard House in October 2010.
Featured chef at the James Beard House in May 2014.