Yuji Wakiya - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival


Yuji Wakiya

Wakiya - Tokyo, Japan

Japanese celebrity chef Yuji Wakiya is credited with creating a new genre of Chinese cuisine that is best described as “traditional and creative.” The common Chinese custom of serving food in large portions makes it difficult for small parties to enjoy a wide variety of dishes.  When Yuji became a head chef at age 27, he wanted to address this problem so that a solo diner could still enjoy a Chinese meal, from the appetizer to the dessert. And so was born his original idea of serving dishes course by course in portions fit for an individual customer.

Born in 1958 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Wakiya began his career in 1973 at the Sanno Restaurant in Akasaka, then gained experience at such establishments as the Tokyo Hilton Hotel and the Capitol Tokyu Hotel. As managing director and executive chef at his restaurant Turandot—where you can “have Chinese as you like anytime”—he has orchestrated openings in Yokohama, Akasaka, and Roppongi since 1996. In 1997, Wakiya became the executive chef of Chinese cuisine at the Pan Pacific Hotel, and in 1998 was appointed head chef to the Crown Prince and Princess at the same hotel. In 2001, he opened Wakiya in Akasaka.

Wakiya participated in the Madrid Fusion 2005 international gastronomic summit in Spain and the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore.

Today, in addition to his restaurants, Wakiya makes appearances on NHK cooking shows, speaks regularly at culinary schools, and is the author of 14 culinary books. He is also a connoisseur of Chinese tea, and strives to share the joy of tea drinking through various forms of media.