Powered By People - TokYou Sushi
05 Aug 2021
From Poland to Skibbereen, and a visit to Tokyo in between, Piotr Wojakowski has been around the world in search of his dream. While Skibbereen is mostly known at present for its production of talented rowers, there’s more to the small West Cork town than meets the eye. When Piotr began his new business venture in Skibbereen, it was the local community around him who got behind the idea and helped it flourish!
After years of building a career in Ireland, the pandemic forced Piotr down a new career path, and with a little help from his local credit union, he turned his dreams in to reality. We sat down with Piotr, who gave us an insight into where he is today, and how he’s been Powered By People.
After finishing in Gastronomy College and qualifying as a chef, polish native Piotr came to Ireland in 2007 to start a new chapter of his life. From the beginning he worked in Field’s Supervalu in Skibbereen for 12 years as a fishmonger. For his 12 years there, he built on his previous experience in the fish industry to give himself a wealth of experience and knowledge, which helped him excel when it came to his next challenge.
As with a range of other challenges brought on by the pandemic, Piotr unfortunately was let go from his job in the fishmongers and so spent a few weeks looking for a course to become a sushi chef. After weeks of researching, Piotr found Tokyo Sushi Academy located in Tokyo, Japan.
Of course, as with everything, paying for a change in your career can be costly. This is where Piotr’s local credit union came in. Piotr told us “thanks to a loan I took out from my local Credit Union in Skibbereen, I was able to set my plans in motion and go to Tokyo. Without that I would be able to make my plan a reality”.
After training in Tokyo for 4 weeks, Piotr came back to Skibbereen and began making sushi for his friends and family. At that time he also unfortunately lost his job as a fishmonger and so had to come up with an idea to sustain himself and his family. This is when TokYou Sushi was born. Serving small sushi, vegetarian boxes and platters to the local community and supplying local retailers around West Cork, Piotr has most definitely created something special!
He owes a lot to his local community, who supported TokYou from the beginning, “My business was accepted swiftly by the community and it turns out that there was a lot of demand for sushi in the area, and the orders began to roll in through our Facebook page. So my community was very important at the beginning, and still today”.
While the plan is to keep going, the future of TokYou Sushi is most certainly a bright one. Overall, Piotr and his team are focused on being the best they can be at what they do, and the plan is to continue to offer products at a high standard, that is fresh and available to all of West Cork.
Finally, we asked Piotr if he had any advice for anyone who was thinking about a change of career. He said “Follow your dreams and don’t be afraid to take risks. Anything is possible if you put all your effort into it”.
Piotr is a member of Access Credit Union, who have branches in Bandon, Schull & Skibbereen.
Piotr's story has been told as part of our #PoweredByPeople series – a campaign which celebrates tales of community support – and highlights exactly what the credit union stands for: people helping people. If you’d like to get involved and tell your story, we’d be more than happy to hear it. Simply get in touch by contacting Jane at email@example.com.