Chef Mihoko Obunai and Concentrics Restaurants have announced a new ramen concept called NEXTO, slated to open at 822 Ralph McGill Blvd. N.E. in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward in Spring 2016.
Known as the “Ramen Freak” for her series of pop-ups, Obunai is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City and worked a string of kitchen jobs at NYC French restaurants such as La Caravelle, L’Absinthe and Bayard’s.
In 2005, Obunai opened Repast in Atlanta with husband and co-executive chef Joe Truex. But in 2010, the couple announced the closing of their French/Japanese-influenced restaurant, and parted ways soon after.
Since then, Obunai has juggled being a chef and mother, including a stint as executive chef at Joli Kobe in Sandy Springs, while launching ramen pop-ups in other cities and states, often collaborating with Sun Noodle company’s Shigetoshi Nakamura.
In 2010 she was selected as a StarChef “Rising Star Chef” and later competed on the Food Network’s “Chopped”. In 2012, Obunai trained with ramen mentor chef Jack Nakamura at Ramen Lab in New York City. And Obunai was one of five ramen masters featured in the “First Annual Ramen Battle” at The 10th annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress in Brooklyn.