Chef Tim Cushman of O Ya - Biography

Boston, MA

April 2012

O ya Chef-Owner Tim Cushman isn’t just a Boston native, he’s an exemplar of Boston’s cultural output. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Jazz and Classical Guitar from the city’s renowned Berklee School of Music, Cushman moved to California in search of musical success. As many aspiring musicians do, Cushman took a job in a restaurant. That was the start of what would become a culinary adventure around the world.

Cushman spent the next 30 years cooking around the world in Japan, France, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Taiwan. In that time, he also served for seven years as a Corporate Chef with Lettuce Entertain You in Chicago, where he developed menus for the group’s new concepts. In 1994, Cushman launched his own consulting business, Ideas in Taste, and developed menus for a variety of restaurateurs, from independents to large operators.

Cushman openedo ya, a contemporary Japanese restaurant, with his wife, Nancy, in March 2007. Since opening, he and o ya have received numerous accolades, including being named by New York Times food critic, Frank Bruni, as the number one new restaurant in the United States in 2008. Cushman was also picked as a Best New Chef 2008 by Food & Wine magazine. Food & Wine also selected o ya as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the world, and named the restaurant as one of the Top 40 in the U.S. Bon Appetit and Details magazines have recognized o ya as one of the top 10 sushi restaurants in the U.S. Locally, Boston Magazine named o ya as the number one restaurant in Boston in 2009 and has taken Best of Boston honors for four consecutive years since opening. Presently, Chef Cushman and his wife, Nancy, are Co-Proprietors of o ya, in addition to working on various restaurant consulting projects.