Rising Star Chef Katsuya Fukushima of Daikaya - Biography

Washington, D.C.

September 2015

Katsuya Fukushima received a double degree in math and art at the University of Maryland. But throughout college, he skipped classes, preferring to stay home to cook dinner for his roommates and watch the television show “Great Chefs” on PBS. Fukushima took a number of odd jobs to make ends meet, and upon witnessing the kinetic energy of the kitchen, he realized he wanted to make cooking his career.

Eager to learn, Fukushima enrolled at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He graduated in 1996 and took a line cook position at Vidalia under Jeffrey Buben. From Vidalia, he began working three jobs simultaneously: at Cashion’s Eat Place under Ann Cashion, The National Press Club, and at Bethesda tapas bar Jaleo. After three years, Fukushima devoted himself solely to Jaleo and followed owner José 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 City and an inspiring season at El Bulli with Ferran Adrià, Fukushima was offered the chef de cusine position at Café Atlántico and minibar by José Andrés in 2002. With boundless curiosity, Fukushima turned the kitchen at Café Atlantico into one of the most innovative in the country, earning him a 2006 StarChefs Rising Star Chef Award. In a demonstration of his culinary dexterity, Fukushima opened his first restaurant and ramen joint, Daikaya, in Washington, D.C. in 2013.