The art and patience of making ramen, according to Chef Gino Bolandrina

Chef Gino has over 10 years experience managing ramen eateries in the Greater Boston Area. Photo: KuruKuru

Ramen Chef Gino Bolandrina hosted “Irasshaimase! A Ramen Journey” at the Anime Boston 2023 convention on April 7 where he shared how his fondness for ramen developed from watching endless anime.

Bolandrina is the chief ramen chef at KuruKuru Ramen Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He was joined at the event by  Jessica Bolandrina, owner and chief marketing officer; and Nick Pietroniro, co-owner and  chief executive officer, both of New Britain, Connecticut; and Cassie Wu of Boston.

At the  Hynes Convention Center in Boston, they gave a  90-minute presentation about the history and culture of the popular Japanese noodle dish. “Irasshaimase! A Ramen Journey,” categorized as a Fan Panel, was attended by over 100 ramen enthusiasts!  

Although everyone knows about instant ramen, the delicious and cheap college student’s meal, Bolandrina believes that “the (homemade) traditional Japanese ramen can also be as cheap and can be even more delicious!”  KuruKuru Ramen shop’s panel sought to enlighten attendees about the culture of ramen as viewed through the world of anime! Bolandrina fell in love with ramen culture by watching anime. He described ramen history  alongside his fascination with  anime. At the end of the panel, he shared a secret recipe, “to make your own cheap and delicious ramen at home!”

Two of his popular ramen dishes

He explained: “Naruto (the TV series) is the first anime to show me that ramen isn’t just an instant noodle. It inspired me to cook more ramen and learn more about what ramen is. It made me wonder ‘Why doesn’t my instant noodle look like that and what other kinds of ramen are out there?’ Now, I’m taking that huge inspiration to keep learning and making my favorite dish.”  

Bolandrina has been passionate about food since his childhood. At age 7, he trained at the Heny Sison Culinary School in Manila, under Chef Jill Sandique who is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education Pastry & Baking Arts program and is a renowned international ICE alumna. 

His culinary journey began with an apprenticeship at The Ivy Restaurant in Boston, cooking shows (Chef Heny Sison), to employment (Harvard Faculty Club, Cambridge; Pikaichi, Boston), to teaching Japanese cooking (Bay Path Adult Evening School, Charlton).

He has traveled to Japan extensively and has enjoyed ramen in Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, Kamikatsu, and Tokyo. At Pikaichi in Boston, where he worked as a waiter before becoming a chef, he honed his passion for ramen. He has over 10 years of experience running and managing ramen eateries in the Greater Boston Area. At KuruKuru, he leads menu creation, daily food prep, and other kitchen responsibilities.  He works with suppliers, ensures food quality in every meal, and assists with back-of-house tasks and duties.  

For more information visit or email Anime Boston 2023 was organized by the New England Anime Society. For more information visit

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