Tetsuya Wakuda, grew up in the Japanese town of Hamamatsu - until at the age of twenty-two, armed with his only piece of information about Australia (that there were lots of koalas and kangaroos around) and having only a limited grasp of English, he decided to travel to Australia. This same thirst for new experiences is reflected still in Tetsuya’s approach to food.
Arriving in Sydney in 1982, with nothing more than a small suitcase and a love of food, Tetsuya landed his first job as a kitchenhand at Fishwives, in Surry Hills. A year later, he was introduced to Sydney chef Tony Bilson, who was looking for a Japanese cook to make sushi. It was there at Tony’s kitchen at Kinsela’s, Tetsuya realised that he wanted to cook and that he could indeed cook very well. Here also he learnt the classical French technique which forms part of his style today.
"I made a lot of things up along the way, and luckily for me, people like the way it tasted."
Tetsuya left Kinsela’s in 1983 and in partnership with the head waiter opened Ultimo’s, where he quickly learnt the responsibility of running his own business. His own restaurant, Tetsuya’s, opened in 1989 as a tiny shopfront in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle and was booked out with daily waiting lists.
In November 2000, Tetsuya relocated his restaurant from Rozelle to 529 Kent Street, Sydney and since then has evolved his style and reputation to become one of Australia’s, if not the world’s, most renowned chefs.
"Tetsuya is part of an elite group of international chefs, that has influenced other chefs through their personal styles and unique approaches to food. His culinary philosophy centres on pure, clean flavours; that are decisive, yet completely refined. His amazing technique, Asian heritage, sincere humility, worldwide travels and insatiable curiosity - combine to create incredible, soulful dishes that exude passion in every bite." Charlie Trotter.