Erik Bruner-Yang

Owner & Chef of Toki Underground and Maketto


Photography by Albert Ting

Chef / Restaurant Owner / Family Man

Located in the United States capital of Washington, DC., Erik is the epitome of the next generation of young chefs – a nominee for the James Beard Award and achieving the ‘Rising Star Chef of the Year’ instead. Owner of Toki Underground, a Taiwanese restaurant that has a reputation of having a waiting list throughout the day to enjoy his Taiwanese ramen, is worth every minute of the delay. In the spring of 2015, Erik threw a curveball and opened his second store, Maketto. A restaurant isn’t the only proper term for this additional space, though; rather a blending of Cambodian food, a cafe that serves some of the finest Washington, DC. espresso, as well as a mix of style and concept that retails a selection of international footwear, unique clothing, as well as smaller magazine companies.


“The most important thing in my life is not the things I own but my family. I wake up every morning and do what I have to do to provide for my family. Amara and Seda are everything to me. Our lives as small business owners can be volatile. In the end I am rich with love.”

Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck Cookbook


I still read cookbooks! All the time. I love buying brand new design books that aren’t available in the U.S. and get them shipped from Hong Kong or anywhere else I can get great books when I travel. Even as a grown man I still love a good picture book.


Buy Now$32

Raf Simons Adidas Sneaker


We love shoes in my family. Vintage, baby, and new. When I was younger, I refused to wear all white shoes. It is my current obsession.

Shop Now$320

Vivreau Sparkling Water Dispenser


One giant waste of money that only really serves me is our sparkling water machine. I am addicted to soda water. We provide free sparkling water to every customer at Maketto because I just think it is the right thing to do. I can’t live without it.

Buy Now$1500+

La Marzocco Espresso Machine

espress machine

Vigilante Coffee roasts the best coffee, in my opinion, in the east coast. They also happen to be from Washington DC. Vigilante is our coffee partner for Maketto. I have no idea how to make any espresso drink well but I love my machine and I love being able to add something new to the cafe scene in Washington DC.

Buy Now$3000+

Erbaviva Organic Baby Skincare


I work so many nights that I don’t get to do a lot of the bath times at our house. So when I get to it, it is a really special moment for me. We found Erbaviva when we were traveling overseas and so we started carrying it at my wife’s boutique shop Akae in NE DC. Amara loves lotion and she likes to do it herself.

Shop Now$17+

Vintage Bathtub


This bathtub was one of the first things I purchased when we moved into the warehouse. We got it refinished and reglazed and I built all the things around it because we need a place for Amara to take baths. I am not really good at starting home projects and finishing them, but I am proud of pulling this one off. You can find old bathtubs everywhere and reglazing is a great way to reuse and recycle.

Shop Now$600+

White Flower Analgesic Balm


This is for all you OG Asians out there. Office days are nothing but a headache. This does the trick. Get on it.

Buy Now$11+



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