TENTH ANNUAL - SAVE THE DATE – OCTOBER 2-25, 2020日本語
Born in Mexico City, Mexico to a Japanese father and Mexican Mother, Katsuji Tanabe has lived a cultured life. During his childhood, he spent many hours in the kitchen with his grandmother learning decades of family traditions. At 18 years old, Tanabe left his hometown to pursue the American Dream. He lived a quaint life in Los Angeles, working multiple jobs at times to get by, including his first job as dishwasher at a Hooters.
Tanabe attended Le Cordon Bleu and studied in Japan for one year after graduation. Upon returning to the US in 2004, Tanabe’s big break came the following year. He was promoted to Executive Sous Chef at Mastros and was later asked to appear in PBS’ “Cooking Under Fire.” Since then, he has been on multiple television shows including Top Chef – Boston, Charleston, Mexico All Stars, Food Fighters, Master Chef, Chow Masters and is a Chopped Champion.
Through his rise to fame, Tanabe stayed focused on owning his restaurant. This dream became a reality in 2010 with MexiKosher LA. Today, there are 6 Katsuji Tanabe restaurants in North America with future openings planned. Known for his flavorful Mexican cuisine paired with his Japanese heritage, you can taste Katsuji’s creativity in dishes served at numerous food and wine festivals throughout the year. Known for “taking a risk,” Katsuji is always the crowd favorite, not only for his delicious cuisine, but for leaving them in hysterics.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
I suck at everything in life except cooking. I realized it makes me super happy.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING IN THREE WORDS?
Mass spicy please.
WHAT’S THE BEST HONOR YOU’VE RECEIVED AS A CHEF?
Being invited to Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL AFTER A BUSY DAY?
Al pastor tacos.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
I spend as much time with my daughters that I can.
WHAT THE ONE LOCAL INGREDIENT YOU’RE EXCITED TO COOK WITH DURING HFWF19?
HAVE YOU BEEN TO HAWAII BEFORE? WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING YOUR VISIT?
No, this is my first time. Looking forward to meeting new chefs, learning the Hawaiian style of cooking, and trying new flavors.
IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would love to be a airplane pilot so I could travel the world for experience and try new flavors.