Yuka Ioroi was born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1979 and moved to Los Angeles in 1995 during her high school years. She graduated from American InterContinental University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship in 2003. She credits her Japanese hospitality insights to her early childhood education in Japanese school systems.
At her first restaurant management job, Ioroi met her future husband, Toliao, at Tiger Lily in Los Feliz, Los Angeles in 2006, an Asian Fusion California cuisine restaurant where she worked as a floor manager and a bartender. While working at Tiger Lily, Ioroi bartended at catering events while managing some of them, consulted for a hip sushi restaurant in Silver Lake for rebranding and new staff training, and managed the bar for a 10,000 sq ft nightclub. Having multiple food & beverage jobs at once in various neighborhoods in the whole Los Angeles County, she was exposed to different business practices and kept mental notes of which worked and which did not.
Upon moving to San Francisco in 2008, Ioroi started at Poleng Lounge learning fresh ingredients focused cocktails under San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef Tim Luym and famed restaurateur/promoter Desi Danganan. Planning to learn as much as possible, she sought out internship opportunities and worked with Full Plate Consulting Company under long time Bay Area restaurant consultant Joan Simon, learning marketing through media and food writers. She gained an access of the list of notable food writers and blogs at that time, which helped to get the word out for Cassava’s initial opening.
Ioroi then moved on to Starbelly in 2009 learning how to run a creative low alcohol-by-volume cocktail program under a wine and beer only license. She also learned the importance of menu price points and labor management in the environment created by Adriano Paganini, one of the most successful restaurateurs in San Francisco today. While working at Starbelly’s bar she had built her a following who became an enthusiastic clientele for Cassava and they still visit to this date.
In 2019, Ioroi has acquired titles of Certified Sake Specialist by WSET and started the Certified Sommelier journey with the Court of Master Sommelier. Cassava’s small but focused rotating beverage list is often praised for the uniqueness and the compatibility with Toliao’s fresh and structured flavors. The beverage program is planned to expand to meet the Wine Spectator’s Excellence Award by the end of 2019.