Randy Musterer, executive chef and owner of Sushi Confidential in Campbell took a chance and followed his passion with a career change. Musterer, better known in the community as Sushi Randy, opened Sushi Confidential after following his passions for sushi and preparing innovative dishes for guests.

Name: Randy Musterer

Occupation: Executive Chef and Owner of Sushi Confidential

How long have you lived and worked in Silicon Valley?

I moved here  from San Luis Obisbo in 1997, to start a cancer-research career. I got my degree in biology from Cal Poly, got a job in Menlo Park at biotech company and moved up here. I wanted to be here for a couple years and move back down to San Diego, but I liked my job out here so much, I just never left.

At what point did you decide to stay in Silicon Valley and pursue your career?

The entire time I worked doing cancer research, I also did some work at a small sushi restaurant in Campbell. My side job was making sushi a couple days a week and I did that for 15 years and I was also working as a cancer research biologist. I wanted the extra money and had passion for fish because growing up in San Diego I had a passion for sport fishing. When I moved, I had an interest in sushi, liked eating it and wanted to learn how to make it. Working at a sushi restaurant a couple days a week, I got to explore my passion and working with people where my other job was more introverted.

What inspired you into specializing in sushi?

Working on the fishing boats, we had sushi chefs that came out fishing, and as I was cutting one of the fish, they ate the fish raw. I was kind of a shocked. That was my first intro to sushi and we started trading fresh fish and that was the start of being introduced to sushi, to eating it and learning how to make it on my own. I would make it at home and gained an appreciation for it in that way.

What are some of your signature dishes?

The main one I have been making for 15 years is the RSM roll, which is my initials. It’s like a deep-fried California roll, with a mix of different types of fish and topped with a mix of crab, salmon, tuna, albacore, scallop and sesame oil—as well as spicy spy and unagi sauce, macadamia nuts, green onions and tobiko.

What was the inspiration behind the roll?

One of the first sushi restaurants I worked at didn’t have a deep-fried roll topped with fresh fish. I thought it would be a cool idea to have deep-fried roll with cooked fish on the inside and raw fresh fish on the outside.

What do you like most about Silicon Valley?

I like how there is so much innovation is in the area. The innovative aspect is intriguing and motivating with the high-tech companies constantly innovating. Being a small business owner, it allows me to be as creative as possible, knowing I don’t have to copy what everyone else is doing. I can do my best to pioneer different styles and a lot of people in the Silicon Valley are excited to be part of the innovation in big business and small business.

What Silicon Valley event do you most look forward to every year?

I appreciate all the wine and art festivals that happen throughout the cities in the county during the summers. I enjoy being able to relax and have glass of wine or beer in a downtown space in the middle of the street while shopping.

Who is the most interesting person you know in Silicon Valley?

I had the opportunity to meet Oprah a couple weeks ago, make her sushi and tell her my story about following my passion from being a cancer-research scientist to owner of a sushi restaurant. She was able to give a lot of insight on following your passion, doing the things you love and being good at the things you do.  I met her at Quickbook Connect at the San Jose Convention Center. She really focused on being positive and serving the community. During her keynote speech, when she was talking about doing what you love and following your passion, she mentioned me. It was a pretty surreal and moving experience.

What are some of the top reasons people should visit Sushi Confidential?

Our goal is that customers have excellent dining experience. A lot of sushi places are dull and lacking personality, and I wanted to bring personality into a sushi restaurant from relatable employees to TVs and music in a restaurant to generate an exciting guest experience. We’re combining traditional cuisine in non-traditional environment.

Sushi Confidential Coming to Downtown San Jose early 2016