Antoinette Bruno: Why did you
start cooking? What or who influenced you to become a chef?
Tetsuya Wakuda: It was an accident. In 1982 I
was in Australia and I got a job washing dishes while I was trying
to get a work permit.
Did you attend culinary school? Would you recommend it to people
TW: No, I didn’t. But I would recommend
it to young people today. There are plenty of good schools.
AB: Can you talk about your
TW: Alfonso Laccarino, whom I admire for his
purity of food and cooking. Also Charlie Trotter, because he started
out washing dishes and taught me about the business.
AB: Which chefs do you consider to be your peers?
TW: Ferrán Adrià has also had a
big influence in my life. I’ve spent a lot of time with
him, and he is why I have a soft spot for Spain.
AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen
TW: The latest convection steam oven.
AB: What is your favorite question to ask during
an interview to a potential line cook?
TW: Are you willing to marry me? You will spend
more time with me than your spouse. In fact, you will spend half
your life with me. Are you willing to do that?
AB: What tips would you offer to young chefs
TW: Make sure that you love eating, not just
cooking. If not, you should look for another profession.
AB: What are your favorite cookbooks?
TW: I love cookbooks. I just received Ferrán’s
from the early 80s, his history of cooking. I also like the book
of Alain Ducasse’s life.
AB: What is your advice for experimenting chefs?
TW: Take a technique and digest it. Copy it at
first, but then use it as inspiration to make something of your
AB: What trends and breakthroughs do you see
in food now?
TW: I see a return to basics, which is the best
breakthrough. One thing I had this year was beef from Tasmania,
and wow, it was great. It’s backyard beef, grass-fed, with
no antibiotics and no hormones. We have forgotten what is natural,
and that it is what is best.