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Born in Korea and raised in Aspen, Colorado, Chef Akira Back brings a sense of adventure and boundless creativity to his culinary creations. He is Executive Chef and Partner of Kumi Japanese Restaurant + Bar and Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge in Las Vegas, NV, both part of Hakkasan Group. Additionally, he opened Akira Back Restaurants in New Delhi & Jakarta with additional locations opening in Toronto, Singapore, Dubai & Bangkok. In 2016, he opened DOSA in Seoul Korea.
Chef Back spent his early years as a professional snowboarder in Colorado, while working at local restaurants to supplement his income as an extreme sports athlete. After seven years on the pro-snowboarding circuit Back decided to pursue a full-time culinary career. He studied at the International Culinary School at The Art Institute in Colorado. In 1993, he began working at Kenichi in Aspen as Sushi Prep Cook and was later recruited to Kenichi in Austin, Texas and then in Kona, Hawaii, as the Opening Chef. Chef Back studied under top celebrity chefs and industry leaders, including Masaharu Morimoto and Brian Nagao. It was during this period that he learned the value of using rare and exotic ingredients. In 2003, he returned to Aspen as Executive Chef of Nobu Matsuhisa’s namesake restaurant.
Chef Back has been awarded the title of “Rising Star” by Restaurant Hospitality (2008) and hosted the prestigious James Beard House dinners (2008, 2010-2014). In 2008, he was named “Best Chef in Las Vegas” by Las Vegas Weekly. He has also appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and Best Thing I Ever Ate, NBC’s The Today Show, The Cooking Channel’s United Tastes of America, as well as KBS’ Success Mentor which airs in Korea.