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Top Chefs Profiles

Tetsuya Wakuda

Tetsuya Wakuda
Written by Aksel Ritenis
Tetsuya Wakuda The culinary history of Tetsuya Wakuda started in Tokyo, in a hotel restaurant where he worked for three years before making the major move in his life to Sydney, Australia. In that fi rst hotel establishment, at a very young age, he learned the basic aspects of western and Japanese cuisine before he had even realised that he wanted to be a chef; indeed, he never attended gastronomy school.

As surprising as it may seem, one who is now seen as the maximum expression of what is known as fusion cuisine (a term which he refuses to accept, by the way), after adjusting to his new home over the fi rst year – he spoke hardly any English when he arrived – is now the most renowned and infl uential oriental chef in the west. He started as a dishwasher until, when he fi rst came into contact with a well-known local chef, it was suggested that he could prepare sushi and other Japanese dishes in his kitchen.

The name of that chef was Tony Bilson and he soon realised what a raw diamond he had discovered. Over time, he increased Tetsuya’s responsibilities encouraging him to mix ingredients and trends, to create in a culinary area where the use of European techniques and oriental inspiration formed part of the restaurant’s identity. It still took a few more years of working for others for the gastronomy world to start to recognise the importance of his work at the fi rst “Tetsuya’s”, installed in a Sydney suburb. That was just the beginning: the restaurant grew and so did the fame of Tetsuya’s cuisine until one day, in 2000, the establishment moved to a magnifi – cent new site, previously owned by the Suntory chain, where the dishes created by this master of delicacy found an appropriate framework for the gastronomic experience derived not only from the dishes from each of the restaurant’s details: minimalist décor, exclusive furniture designs, an indoors Japanese garden which is so relaxing for diners, and service of an exquisiteness barely comparable to that of the ten dishes usually included in the menu. A menu which, loyal to the seasonality which underlines Japanese culinary philosophy, varies during the year at the same pace as the creativity of our chef, applied to the freshest products that nature is capable of providing.

Tetsuya Wakuda’s cuisine has been described as an outstanding example of fusion applied to the kitchen. But this may be too generic a classifi cation – suffice it to say that his is a creative cuisine, but creativity for its own sake has never been one of the chef’s priorities. He prefers to talk about a constant search for harmony between ingredients; harmony which is revealed in their fl avours but also in the products themselves, in how they are presented, in the atmosphere that surround them and in the overall culinary experience rather than in techni cal skills. Tetsuya’s cuisine is based on the world’s pantry, French techniques and Japanese inspiration!

TETSUYA’S RESTAURANT


ADDRESS: 529 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000
TELEPHONE: +61 2 9267 2900
WEBSITE: www.tetsuyas.com
CUISINE:
Japanese, French Fusion
CHEF:
Tetsuya Wakuda
OPENING HOURS:
Lunch: Saturday from 12noon;
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday from 6.00pm
Closed on all Australian Public Holidays.
RESERVATIONS:
Reservations essential; accepted 4 weeks ahead
PRICES:
10-course degustation menu A$185 (US$166/£83) per person. Drinks extra
TRANSPORT
: CityRail: Town Hall



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Aksel Ritenis

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