Friday, June 29, 2012

Meet the Chefs - Takashi Yagihashi

Owner, Takashi Restaurant and Slurping Turtle
Competing for: Japanese Tsunami Disaster Relief

Over his 25-year career, Takashi Yagihashi has been lauded by consumers and critics alike for his exquisite ways of melding contemporary French, Asian and American cuisine. A native of Mito, Japan, the self-taught Yagihashi was working in a local restaurant when the owner asked him to relocate to the States and work for him there; over the next several years, the young chef worked his way up the culinary ladder throughout Chicago. In 1993, he was named chef de cuisine and eventually partner at the four-star Ambria; in 1996, he was presented with an Executive Chef opportunity, and left Chicago to open Tribute in suburban Detroit. An instant classic, Tribute was on every “best of” list, including Gourmet’s list of America’s Top 50 Restaurants, Yagihashi was named one of America’s ten “Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine (2000), and the esteemed James Beard Foundation selected him as “Best Chef: Midwest” in 2003. Yagihashi next was Executive Chef at Okada at the Wynn hotel (Las Vegas) in 2005; under his lead, Bon Appetit named Okada “Best New Japanese Restaurant.” In late 2007, Yagihashi opened Takashi in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood; the restaurant was named “#1 Best New Restaurant” by Chicago Magazine and one of ten “Best New Restaurants of the Year” by Esquire. He then opened Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi, which was named one of the “Five Best Noodle Shops in America” by Bon Appetit; in 2009, he published his first cookbook, Takashi’s Noodles. In both 2010 and 2011, Takashi received a coveted Michelin star. In late 2011, Slurping Turtle opened to instantaneous success. Located downtown, Slurping Turtle offers Japanese comfort food, where delicate balance and respect for natural flavors continues to be a hallmark of his cooking style.

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