Director: Tetsuya Wakuda
It is here on Kent Street, in Tetsuya's personal upstairs 'Experimentation' kitchen, that Tetsuya develops a unique cuisine, based on the Japanese philosophy of natural seasonal flavours, enhanced by classic French technique and the freshest possible ingredients.
Tetsuya Wakuda grew up in the Japanese town of Hamamatsu until at the age of twenty-two, armed with his only piece of information about Australia (that there were lots of koalas and kangaroos around) and having only a limited grasp of English, he decided to travel to Australia. This same thirst for new experiences is reflected still in Tetsuya’s approach to food.
Arriving in Sydney in 1982 with nothing more than a small suitcase and a love of food, Tetsuya landed his first job as a kitchenhand at Fishwives in Surry Hills. A year later he was introduced to Sydney chef Tony Bilson, who was looking for a Japanese cook to make sushi. It was there at Tony’s kitchen at Kinsela’s Tetsuya realised that he wanted to cook, and that he could indeed cook very well. Here also he learnt the classical French technique which forms part of his style today.
"I made a lot of things up along the way, and luckily for me, people like the way it tasted."
Tetsuya left Kinsela’s in 1983 and in partnership with the head waiter opened Ultimo’s, where he quickly learnt the responsibility of running his own business. His own restaurant, Tetsuya’s, opened in 1989 as a tiny shopfront in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle and was booked out with daily waiting lists.
In November 2000, Tetsuya relocated his restaurant from Rozelle to 529 Kent Street, Sydney and since then has evolved his style and reputation to become one of Australia’s most renowned chefs.
He has consistently pushed the boundaries of contemporary cuisine since the days of his eponymous restaurant. "His culinary philosophy centres on pure, clean flavours that are decisive, yet completely refined. His amazing technique, Asian heritage, sincere humility, worldwide travels and insatiable curiosity combine to create incredible, soulful dishes that exude passion in every bite." said Charlie Trotter.
Although the emphasis on natural, seasonal flavors can be identified in his creations, what really shines in his cooking is innovativeness, inspiration, delicacy and balance. Examples of his skills lie in his dégustation menu. It could start with a plate of hors d'oevres - a gazpacho with spiced tomato sorbet , west Australian marron with asparagus and truffle mayonnaise, tartare of tuna with fresh wasabi, marinated fillet of trevally with preserved lemon set on sushi rice and tataki of venison with rosemary and honey. Tetsuya's signature dish follows, confit of ocean trout served with unpasteurised ocean trout roe, followed by double cooked de-boned spatchcock with braised daikon and bread sauce, followed by a grilled fillet of grain fed beef with sansho & shiitake mushrooms.
Courses are planned to build upon one another, careful consideration is given to each offering to ensure that it perfectly compliments the last. This process culminates in Tetsuya's amazing desserts, including an orange, honey and black pepper sorbet served prior to a blue cheese bavarois. A meal could end with early season berries with orange and Grand Marnier jelly and champagne ice cream, a floating island with vanilla and praline anglaise and a flourless chocolate cake with a bitter chocolate sorbet and orange ice cream.
- Quality ingredients come first
- Make simplicity seems like abundance
- One dish leads to another
- Don't be afraid of failure
- Learning is a discussion with others
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