Rising Star Chef Katsuya Fukushima of Daikaya - Biography

Washington, D.C.

July 2012

Unsure he could make a career of his passion for food, Katsuya Fukushima received a double major in math and art at the University of Maryland. But throughout college, Fukushima would skip classes, preferring to stay at home cooking dinner for his roommates and watching “Great Chefs.” Fukushima eventually took a number of odd jobs to make ends meet, and when he saw the chaos (and less obvious order) of the kitchen, he realized he wanted to make a career out of cooking.

Eager to learn as much as he possibly could, Fukushima immediately enrolled at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Graduating in 1996, he took a line cook position at Vidalia under Jeffrey Buben. From Vidalia, he began working three jobs simultaneously: at Cashion’s Eat Place under the guidance of Ann Cashion, The National Press Club, and Bethesda tapas bar Jaleo. After three years, Fukushima devoted himself solely to Jaleo and followed owner Jose Andrés to assist with his opening of Café Atlantico.

For the next eight years, Fukushima worked with Andrés, who became a mentor and a friend. After a stint at Verbena in New York and an inspiring season at el Bulli under Ferran Adrià, Fukushima was offered the chef de cusine position at both Café Atlántico and minibar in 2002. With his boundless curiosity and unwillingness to allow conventions to stymie evolution, Fukushima turned the kitchen at Café Atlantico into one of the most innovative in the country. And in a demonstration of his culinary dexterity, Fukushima currently is working on opening his first restaurant and ramen joint, Daikaya, in Washington, DC.