Massimiliano Neri: The Entrepreneur whose passion changed Naples’s food scene!

Massimiliano Neri is living proof that it’s never too late to chase your dreams. Walking away from the promising corporate career awaiting him in Milan, Massimiliano opened the first sushi restaurant in central southern Italy. His entrepreneurial success story combines passion, know-how and international cuisine, confirming that a ‘passion plus work’ formula is always a win-win.  

After completing an undergraduate degree in Paris and a two-year masters degree in Japan, Massimiliano decided to follow his passion for Japanese history and culture. This is why, 16 years ago, he opened  Kukai, a restaurant aiming to pout Naples into contact with the Rising Sun, through the fastest way to convey a message: FOOD! It seemed like a crazy idea, doomed from the start, to everyone around him, including his family and friends. After all, how could a sushi restaurant be successful in the Campania region of Italy that is known for it’s amazing traditional seafood dishes such as  spaghetti alle vongole and risotto alla pescatora? 

 

But Massimiliano Neri was adamant. His passion for the Japanese culture, combined with his keen sense of style and love of photography, empowered him to push forward and make his dream a reality. What is different in his story is that, Massimiliano was never solely driven by the economic aspect of a business. Rather, he wanted his restaurant to be a place of relaxation, a hidden gem around the pizzerias in historic Naples and a pillar of his community. 

"In Japan, the good of the community is always more important than that of the individual. For them, intelligence lies in giving up some of their immediate profit, easily reachable by overpowering others, by virtue of the fact that living in a functional system brings them a far greater advantage to everyone. It is this sense of collectivity, that I would import into Italy. "

His second restaurant, Iki, this time opened in Capri is an art gallery, sushi restaurant, terrace bar and design shop. 

"Japan is a country where everyone is dedicated to the creation of beauty in a way and with an intensity unknown to the rest of the world. This aspect of Japanese culture fascinated me from the first moment. Not surprisingly, I have always tried to match the aesthetics of the dishes to that of the environment in which they are consumed ".

But what is Massimiliano’s advice to those who want to follow their dreams and are afraid they will fail?  

"The secret of living is giving, if you follow your dreams then you will have something worth sharing with others, hope, inspiration and a meaning to life, and that to me, is a great contribution."

Passion is very important, no matter what you choose to do in your life. AndBut, once you add commitment and clarity about your vision, you will be unstoppable! We hope Massimiliano’s story inspired you and, if you would like to start your transformation journey, we invite you to have a look at MY NU WAYS! Programs.  

Our Career and Life-Changing Programs combine coaching, consulting and enablement. They provide you a roadmap that you can follow. The proven concept behind our programs will make you feel committed and proud about yourself and your progress. Click here to find out more! 

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