Michael Taylor

Chef De Cuisine

Michael started cooking at the age of sixteen and has not left the kitchen since. His first job was at a sushi restaurant where he found his love and passion for the craft. The discipline, technique and artistic vision required to make good sushi is what attracted him to the job. Eventually he decided to branch out in pursuit of becoming a more well-rounded cook and began cooking at high-end American contemporary restaurants. Throughout the years Michael has periodically returned to sushi knowing it was a true passion.

Michael was born on the island of Guam. Growing up in a military family he lived in Hawaii and various East Coast cities before his family settled just outside of Cleveland. He moved to Pittsburgh in 2010 to attend Culinary School at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Michael’s parents were a huge influence on his culinary career and a large part of his love for food. His mother, who is native to the Philippines introduced new food and ingredients to everyday meals and his father loved to cook and collect recipes from his travels in the Navy. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and his book “Nobu Now” influenced Michael to pursue sushi at a young age and gave him a glimpse of the true art of sushi.

For Michael, he loves the simplicity of Japanese food and ingredients but also how complex it can be at the same time.

“Shokunin is a Japanese word that describes, artist and craftsmanship but more deeply, the act of devoting your life to the pursuit of perfection. I am nowhere near perfect at anything, but this word and idea is absolutely fascinating to me. It inspires me every time I put on an apron, every time I make rice and every time I slice fish. I think perfection is near impossible, but I would gladly spend the rest of my career in pursuit of making the perfect bite.”

– Michael Taylor

Elizabeth Martin

General Manager

Liz joined the gi-jin team in June 2022, bringing with her a lifelong passion for craft traditions, history, culture, and the way they come together to influence cuisine. She began her career in hospitality as a barista in 2003, and over the years punctuated her studies in Art and Architectural History with posts in some of Pittsburgh’s top restaurants, including big Burrito mainstays Casbah and Eleven, and Franco Braccia’s Senti. Liz discovered her passion for Japanese cuisine in 2016 while on the opening team of Roger Li’s Umami, and has remained a steadfast student of Japanese food and beverage culture since, earning certifications from the Sake Sommelier Association and the Sake School of America. She is always looking for graceful and subtle ways to amplify joy in the dining room, and finds great satisfaction in helping her guests select their new favorite gin or bottle of sake.

Liz is inspired by the Japanese integration of aesthetics and everyday life, and she moves through the world looking for beauty in simplicity. In her free time Liz can be found working in her garden or ceramics studio, tending herbs or creating handmade pieces for use in the restaurant. It’s a continued privilege of hers to work alongside Chef Michael and the gi-jin team, in an environment that feeds her curious nature, supports her passions, and challenges her growth.

Heather Jones

Lead Server

Mario Andrés

Head Sushi Chef

Patrick Cassidy

Bar Lead

Brandi Cox


Tanner Gavlak

Sous Chef

Regan Wright


Nimra Asmussen


Jeff Waldeck

Sushi Apprentice