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Chef Jimmy Lian, Arata Sushi

Chef-owner Jimmy Lian -- with a salmon over

Chef-owner Jimmy Lian -- with a salmon over his shoulder -- in Arata in Syosset on March 28, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Jimmy Lian, 32, is chef-owner of Arata Sushi in Syosset. He lives in Elmhurst, Queens.

What's the most surprising thing a customer has ever asked for in your restaurant?

"Do you deliver to Manhattan?" One of our regular customers moved to Greenwich. He works in Manhattan and he had his secretary call and ask if we would deliver to his office. We did but eventually I recommended some restaurants in Manhattan for him.

What would people be surprised to hear that you like to eat?

Durian fruit. It has a smell that a lot of people find disgusting, but when I was growing up in Indonesia, it was something I looked forward to every weekend when it was in season.

Which Long Island restaurant would you take a chef friend to?

Peter Luger in Great Neck. That porterhouse, just grilled and topped with butter, it's delicious. Though I have to say that they execute the bacon appetizers better in the Brooklyn Peter Luger.

What's on your kitchen playlist?

I'm usually behind the sushi bar so the kitchen music is also in the restaurant. I like Planet Lounge and Smooth Jazz from Pandora.

What's the new kale?

Perhaps Brussels sprouts. I love to peel the leaves then give them a quick fry to get them crisp.

What's the last great meal you had?

Jajangmyeon in Koreatown on 32nd Street in Manhattan. It's a simple dish --j ust noodles with a soybean sauce and onions -- but I love the texture of the noodles.

How do you handle staff romances?

As long as they do their job well and keep it professional at the workplace and follow the rules provided, it is all good.

Who's your culinary hero?

Thomas Keller -- every dish he executes looks beautiful.

What's your favorite cooking tool?

My knives. I have four knives that I rely on every day.

What makes a great customer?

Customers who appreciate good food and who trust the chef. One of my goals as a chef is to make my customers appreciate food. If I create something new I need them to trust me that it will make them happy.

What do you think of reality cooking shows?

I watch a lot of "Kitchen Nightmares." I know Gordon Ramsay acts crazy, but every chef has an ego and what Ramsay does, he makes the chef look at that. It's good for me to step back, look at my restaurant and see what I can do better.

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