Food Stories with Danny Victory: The Yakitory Story

With spray painted signage across it’s corrugated iron walls, tropical leaf plants lining the doorway, and house beats pumping out, you can’t help but be drawn towards the newly opened Japanese street food restaurant Shori at Spark York. Experienced chef Danny Victory has been working hard over the last few months at Spark York building his first business venture, a Japanese street-food restaurant named Shori. Situated in the vibrant heart of the independent box park Spark York, Shori’s menu blends bold Japanese and Asian flavours with Danny’s own creative flair to create a menu of flavoursome dishes that are making the restaurant the newest hipster hideout in the city. With Bao’s, Ramen and Yakitori on the menu, I couldn’t resist popping in for a chat to find out more about where it all began and what the future holds for Shori at Spark York. 

Danny, if you could describe yourself in three words what would they be? 

I would say ambitious, motivated, and passionate of course. 

What inspired you to set up your own street food business?

Well I never wanted to go into street food, but it’s just one of those things where it is a good starting point for me and a great way to get the ball rolling. It’s one of the main reasons why I have moved upstairs at Spark to be able to have a restaurant as it is just an environment that I am used to. 

How are you finding the experience so far?

It’s hard work with long hours, but it’s good. One of the hardest parts is building your brand and bringing in new trade whilst striking that balance between quality and cost to make it viable, the stocks we cook here take around eight hours to make just on their own! I think that working hard is expected within the catering industry, but I now work hard for myself rather than for someone else. 

Where did you work before starting up at Spark?

I first started working as a chef when I was fifteen at the Lamb and Lion pub in York. I have been cooking for almost ten years now and It’s been really busy. I’ve worked in a lot of Michelin starred restaurants and I worked for Michael Cain who is based down south. I also worked at The Star at Harome and just before opening up at Spark I worked for Michael O’Hare at The Rabbit and the Moon in Manchester.

Wow you have been busy. Have you always wanted to be a chef?

Yeah, I have always wanted to do it and I have always enjoyed cooking. When I was little, I used to go around to my grandparent’s house and cook noodles, so I think it’s funny that now I actually have my own little noodle shop! I also used to cook at family barbeques when I was about ten and I had a little chef’s outfit and everything! I’ve loved cooking since forever.

What does the name of your restaurant Shori mean?

 Shori is my surname ‘Victory’ translated into Japanese. We actually changed the name from ‘Chow’ as it is a huge business in the U.S who had trademarked the name and so wrote to us saying that we could no longer use it. It actually worked out well for us though as I think that Shori is more personalised to who we are today, and I think that it will be better moving forwards. It’s one of those blessings in disguise really!

Where do you see yourself this time next year?

At the minute we are aiming to make the business viable over the next two years and so it will eventually look after itself. I want to make sure it becomes a full-time job and not feel like just a hobby, and I want it to be beneficial for both my staff and I going forward. 

From there I think I would try and focus more on things that I am used to such as gourmet food and maybe take more expensive ingredients and showcase them in a better way as to make them not so intimidating. I’ve worked in a lot of fine dining restaurants and I think that food doesn’t connect with everyone in those types of environments so I’d like to try and make a concept that would be able to change that. 

Danny Victory, 10.7.19

York Talks would like to thank Danny for taking the time to share his food story. We wish you the best of luck with all that the future holds!

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