Los Angeles Sushi Chef Sentenced for Serving Customers Whale Meat

The chef and his colleague both pled guilty to misdemeanor charges and received relatively light sentences

Photo Modified: Flickr/James Niland
The chef confirmed that he served whale meat at least twice in 2010. 

Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, formerly the sushi chef at the now-closed Hump restaurant in Santa Monica, California, has been sentenced for his involvement in the illicit importation and sale of whale meat to customers, authorities have announced.

The chef must complete two years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, and pay a sum of $5,000.

In 2013, Yamamoto and another chef, along with their employer’s parent company, Typhoon Restaurant Inc., were indicted after a sting operation revealed that the restaurant had been serving whale meat to customers, off the menu. In the United States, importing and selling whale meat is prohibited by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Both chefs pled guilty to misdemeanor charges, cooperated with the investigation, and were given the same sentence. According to testimony, in 2007, the chefs gained permission from the restaurant to order and serve whale meat from supplier Ginichi Ohira, and served the meat on at least two occasions in 2010.

Ohira is scheduled to be sentenced in June, while Typhoon Restaurant Inc. was sentenced to 18 months’ probation. Brian Vidor, the company’s owner, was sentenced to a year’s probation, and was fined $27,500 in conjunction with the company. 

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