We are a team of restaurant R&D professionals who truly love food, from all cultures. We have a particular affinity for Asian cuisine but our interests span across various culinary types. From ramen bar to contemporary California cuisine, we’re on a mission to create the best-in-class. How do we do this? Collaborating with the best and insanely talented chefs in the industry. They may be on TV or slicing cucumbers in the back of a kitchen, but if they have the talent and passion,
we’ll work with them. We’re on our way, see you soon at a Kaizen Dining Group portfolio restaurant.
A team of food & beverage professionals brought together to develop and operate a portfolio creative and dynamic restaurant brands.
To operate best-in-class restaurant concepts and elevating the guest experience no matter the menu and price-point.
Maintain the integrity of how certain cuisine should truly be experienced.
Embrace newest technology and make it work for us.
Discipline in making profits and create a healthy financial footprint for all partners.
Foster respectful relationships with partners to set new boundaries in the food & beverage industry.
David Lee | Founder & President
“Entrepreneurship is the relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” – HBS
David Lee was exposed to fine Japanese cuisine at a young age, as his father ran a highly respected Japanese restaurant for over twenty years.
David, initially pursued a career in engineering, but later in life, he would emerge as one of California’s most prominent restaurateurs as founder
of the popular Kabuki Japanese Restaurant brand, spanning four states including Arizona, Nevada, and Texas with over 1,200 employees.
David holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering. While working as an engineer, his passion for the restaurant business grew so
David entered the Collins School of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona. Currently, David is enrolled in the Harvard Business School Executive MBA Program.
Hannah Grabe | Marketing Manager
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
Raised in Phoenix, Hannah attended Arizona State University earning a bachelor of arts in journalism and mass communication with a major emphasis in public relations and strategic media. During her time at ASU, Hannah spent two seasons interning with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns PR team, and following graduation, another with the organization’s game entertainment team. Following, Hannah moved on to work with Vestar Development, overseeing the marketing for 5.3 million square feet of retail space, including local favorite, Tempe Marketplace. She and her husband re-located to Los Angeles in 2012, at which point she joined the Kaizen team as marketing manager overseeing efforts for the group’s restaurant locations and concepts.
Masa Kurihara | Executive Corporate Chef
“Life is too short, enjoy every moment” – Self
Born in Tokyo, Kurihara began his career at age 18, working in a French restaurant—starting as a dishwasher—while attending the prestigious Tokyo Culinary School. After graduation, Kurihara had the opportunity to work at Tokyo’s famous Imperial Hotel. In 1976, the young chef arrived in Washington, D.C. to work for the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, cooking for formal receptions and banquets. When not in the kitchen, Chef Masa enjoys golfing and trying out new restaurants in Los Angeles.
Jennifer Colvin | Human Resources Director
“All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
Born and raised in the Midwest, Jennifer started her career in hotel operations at Doubletree Hotels in Boston. Moving west, Jennifer served as a director of human resources for Hilton Worldwide and an area director of human resources for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. In addition to her day job at Kaizen, Jennifer is a human resources instructor for UCLA Extension program. Jennifer holds numerous human resources certifications and degrees, including a BS from Culver-Stockton College in Recreation, a MS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Leisure Studies and MA from Pennsylvania State University in Human Resources.
Jeff Lee | Accounting & Operations Director
“Show me the money!” – Rod Tidwell
Jeff’s career with the Company spans over a decade when he started as a store manger of the legacy Kabuki location. Jeff has extensive knowledge in restaurant operations and accounting. In addition to heading the accounting department, Jeff currently serves as the director of operations, where he leads a team of regional and store-level managers to ensure the restaurants, employees and guests are treated at an optimum level. When not working, Jeff enjoys taking rides with his wife and two young daughters.