Husband-and-wife duo, Daisuke Matsumoto and Amy Hernández Matsumoto, are the co-owners of Vancouver’s Pizzeria La Sorrentina, a Southern Italian trattoria. Aside from fresh pasta, pizza and desserts, the Matsumotos also offer pizza and baking classes in the fall. Learn about Daisuke Matsumoto and Amy Hernández Matsumoto…
Hometown: Daisuke: Nishinomiya, Japan
Amy: Spokane, WA. We have lived in Vancouver, WA, for 15 years.
First job: Daisuke: Working in his parent’s Italian restaurant, Caruso in Nishinomiya, as dishwasher, prep cook and busser.
Amy: Teacher assistant in a daycare at the age of 15.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: We both love to travel to Seattle and eat in many of the Japanese restaurants, specifically sushi.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Our biggest accomplishment has to be opening up an restaurant one day before the pandemic hit. First of all, it was not an easy feat by any means to even get it started. It took us roughly two and a half years in total to take business classes, interview other business owners, build our business plan model, work for the funding, find the right people to help us get our dream off the ground, and then to only have one full day of being open to the community before having to be shutdown due to the pandemic was definitely a test of our dedication and strength as well as a test on our marriage. Yet, here we are, still standing, and still making our way to those first five years.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Our biggest obstacle that we have had to overcome together most likely was the time we opened up our food cart in order to test out our product. It was such a learning curve, yet it was so exciting. Amy was a full-time teacher and Daisuke ran the food cart during the week on his own, and Amy would help on the weekends. Within six months of being open, Amy’s mother ended up in the hospital in Seattle for two months, and Amy had to spend every moment there with her. Daisuke had to take care of our three shih tzus, the home and the food cart all by himself while trying to be supportive of Amy and her family. That was a tough moment in our lives, although that more than likely helped us prepare for the upcoming obstacles.
Someone who inspires you and why: Hands down, we would have to say that Daisuke’s late father, Tomio Matsumoto, is a huge inspiration for the both of us. Not only did he have to venture out on his own from Nagasaki to Tokyo at the age of 12 to find work, he was one of the first to open up an Italian restaurant in Japan. Thanks to a competition Tomio won in Tokyo with a man from Naples, Italy, Tomio and this man, Antonio Caruso, opened up Caruso together in Osaka and then Nishinomiya. Tomio was an artist and continued to cook until the age of 75. He passed away this year; however, he died knowing he had fulfilled all his dreams in life and was able to share his passion for Italian cuisine with others. We hope to follow in his footsteps. Live life to the fullest, not being afraid to do all things through love and passion.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: The most important piece of advice we both would give is to start out small. Test your product and earn the fanbase and as much funding you can first, on your own. Second, understand that opening up a restaurant is an ongoing learning experience that needs a solid two years for research and planning. Visit and eat at many local restaurants. Be a customer and future owner observing what you like about the plating, the service, the décor, the menu and take lots of pictures and notes. You will also want to attend any community workshops/events regarding opening up a business, how to apply for loans, etc. Make friends and build connections with those in your community. Ask them what helped them, what they wish they would have known, etc. Invest time into learning how to use social media to benefit you, encourage your customers and friends to share your business with others, and always remember your why. Running a business pre- and post-pandemic has so many challenges, but if every day you wake up knowing you are doing what you are most passionate about, then it is worth it. Also, know your limits. You will get stressed out, but take one day a week just for you.
Favorite quote: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” –Pele
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Daisuke is a retired judo champion in Japan. Once he earned his last black belt and became a sensei, he decided to retire at age 30.
Amy doesn’t cook, at all. In fact, it was always one of her dreams to marry a chef because, up until she married Daisuke, even boiling an egg was a challenge. And now, she owns a restaurant and hosts cooking classes.
What makes someone fabulous: In our eyes, what makes someone fabulous is someone that embraces life with pure love in their heart, isn’t afraid to work hard for what they want in life and is also willing to guide and lead others along the way.