How two surfers combined their passions for sushi and sustainability
Words by LESLEY McKENZIE
Left: The 100-seat restaurant opened in Culver City’s PLATFORM. Photo by Ken Wheeler. Right: FIISH founders JAMES WILLIS and COLIN WHITBREAD. Photo by Julian Martin.
As a sushi chef and a San Diego native, Colin Whitbread prides himself on the quality of fish he uses but also on his steadfast commitment to ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients. Plus, there’s his knack for entertaining. “Personality has a lot to do with it because doing sushi is almost like bartending in a weird way,” he says.
While Whitbread’s approach has earned him a starry clientele with the likes of Mike Tyson and the Jonas Brothers, it also captured the attention of acclaimed restaurateur, entrepreneur and fellow surfer James “Jamo” Willis. In April 2022, the ocean-loving pair debuted their Californian-meets-Japanese sushi concept at Culver City’s Platform with Little Fiish, a temporary pop-up catering and to-go business, which very soon became Fiish, the new 100-seat restaurant they opened at Platform in July.
A selection of nigiri. Photo by Corey Wilson.
“This is just the mothership,” says Willis, who also serves as creative director for the soon-to-open Palm Springs Surf Club wave pool. “It’s a lifestyle brand,” he explains, citing upcoming fashion and art collaborations as well as thoughts of opening a second location in the future.
Placing an emphasis on nigiri, the menu will span everything from poke bowls to a 16-course omakase offering, paired with cocktails crafted with soju and sake, or wine and house-made beer. Executive chef Whitbread and chef Cody Requejo remain dedicated to using local purveyors (such as California’s Serrato Farms) and sustainably sourced ingredients. “Our carbon footprint for our fish is a lot smaller coming from Baja [Mexico] than Japan,” says Whitbread. “I call it guilt-free sushi.” 8820 Washington Blvd., Ste. 101, Culver City, 310-227-2226; fiish.co.
Feature image: The sushi bar. Photo by Ken Wheeler.
This story originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of C Magazine.
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