Erik Shirai modestly describes himself as a Japanese American, born and raised in the US with current residence in Brooklyn. He began working on film sets as a lighting technician, patiently working his work up to becoming a cinematographer, eventually working on the Emmy award-winning series No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. He never attended film school or college, but spent his formative years immersed in painting and photography. “I learn from working with my peers on films sets and surround myself with people I respect,” he says. To further highlight his filmmaking prowess, Shirai put together EYE WHAT YOU EAT, a series that shows off popular culinary techniques. ‘I wanted people to see food in an entirely different way,” says Shirai. “A visceral experience, much like the movie THE REVENANT.” EYE WHAT you eat consists of eight 2:30 episodes titled DEEP FRY, BRAISE, BAKE, SAUTE, PASTA, GRILL, STOCK and PREP & CHOP. The series was bought by Scripps Networks. Erik’s food films were also featured at the a TED conference in New York in 2012. He most recently received The Best Documentary Director Special Jury Mention at Tribeca Film Festival for his feature film ‘The Birth of Saké’. The film also won Best Documentary Film at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival and was also an Official Selection at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Erik says he wants to explore lifestyle campaigns that feature humans imparting their knowledge and sacrifice to making a superior product. He likes branding that highlights artisans and their craft, be it building cars or baking bread.