For 29-year-old Nizaris Khalifa, his career at Cleopatra Kebab, a kebab and falafel shop in Tokyo, started out simply as a way to make a decent living.

Now, every weekend rain or shine, an unending rotation of Tokyoites from all walks of life congregate in front of Khalifa’s place of work. Entertainers and club owners, inebriated bar patrons and Twitch-streamers alike huddle on wooden benches covered in chipped red paint enjoying the simple bliss of smoky, marinated meat and (if you’re lucky) freshly fried chickpea fritters before, during or after a night of drinking.

Although the quality of his food would lead you to believe differently, Khalifa hasn’t been cooking professionally for long. After moving to Japan from Tunisia eight years ago and working various jobs outside of the culinary field, he found himself in need of a change of pace and a new career.