grew up in Hamamatsu, a town on the main Japanese island of Honshu.
He left there in 1982 bound for Australia, which he found fascinating
due to its koalas and kangaroos. At 22, he landed on the shores
of Sydney with a shaky grasp of English and little knowledge of
his new home. What he did know was that he loved food, so he soon
found himself working as a kitchenhand at Fishwives in
Surry Hills. After a year there he met Sydey chef Tony Bilson,
who asked Tetsuya to come and prepare sushi at one of his restaurants,
Kinsela’s. With no formal training Tetsuya took on the task
and soon realized that food would be a lifelong passion for him.
At Kinsela’s he also learned many classic French techniques
that form a huge part of his style to this day.
The Entrance to Tetsuya's
Restaurant in Sydney, Australia
Later Tetsuya left Kinsela’s and
worked in a series of restaurants before going into partnership
with a friend to open up their own place, Ultimo’s.
This is where Tetsuya first dove into the business side of restaurants,
which proved good training for when he opened up his own restaurant,
Tetsuya’s, in 1989. Located in the Sydney suburb
of Rozelle, Tetsuya’s quickly had lines out the
door. It only sat about 20 people, and Tetsuya worked in a kitchen
the size of a car. They remodeled for space over the years, but
in 2000, Tetsuya relocated the restaurant to Kent Street in Sydney.
The Bar at Tetsuya's Restaurant
in Sydney, Australia
His restaurant was awarded “Best Sydney
Restaurant” in 2002 by American Express and was dubbed “Best
Australasian Restaurant 2004” by Restaurant Magazine in
London, which has also placed it in the top 5 restaurants worldwide.
Tetsuya’s food combines Japanese and French elements, but
he dislikes the term “fusion.” Meals at his restaurant
mimic Japanese kaiseki meals, where courses are several and small
and presentation is just as important as taste. Today he is widely
considered to be Australia’s most innovative and influential
chef, and in 2001 he published a cookbook of his recipes, Tetsuya,
which also includes commentary on food and photographs of his
stunning presentations. He makes a point of traveling extensively
for his job, learning new culinary techniques and ingredients
by eating abroad and participating in the culinary congress circuit.