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Keiko Aoki, is the founder of Altesse, a New York consultancy firm, and the owner of an eponymous U.S. catering company that specializes in Japanese home cooking. Bitten by the business bug from the minute she flew to the Big Apple in 1985, Aoki’s itch to succeed kept her working during most of the ’80s and ’90s. Although she started from scratch, by the mid-’90s her company had swelled into a $15 million-a-year business. Aoki brought the Wonderbra to Japan, developed products with German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, and advised the Spanish government on the Balearic Islands. Single and successful, it wasn’t until 2000 that Keiko finally met her perfect match in Rocky Aoki, the founder of the Benihana restaurant empire, and the two cooked up a storm until Rocky’s death in 2008.

If it’s Japanese and smells funny, it’s probably good for you. The Japanese diet is the best: It includes lots of enzymes from soy sauce, miso and natto (fermented soybeans), which are all very healthy.

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