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Tetsuya Wakuda
, 2004

by Quentin Jones

type C photograph (sheet: 43.8 cm x 89.6 cm, image: 33.7 cm x 79.6 cm)

Tetsuya Wakuda OAM (b. 1959) was born and raised in the Japanese town of Hamamatsu, where he trained as a hotel chef. He came to Australia in 1982, at the age of 22, working as a kitchen-hand at Sydney's Fishwives restaurant before becoming the sushi specialist at Tony Bilson's Kinsella's. At Kinsella's Wakuda learnt the classical French techniques that have since informed his cooking. He left in 1984 to open Ultimo's in partnership with Kinsella's former head waiter; five years later he opened Tetsuya's in Rozelle. The tiny shopfront restaurant - initially, it seated 55 people - was perpetually booked out months in advance, with long daily waiting lists. In 2000 Tetsuya's moved to more spacious quarters in Kent Street. Wakuda is renowned for creating innovative dishes with a delicate balance of natural flavours. From 1992, for twelve years running he received the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide's highest award of three chef's hats. In 2005 Tetsuya's was ranked number four in Restaurant Magazine's list of the world's 50 best restaurants; it was on the list from 2002 to 2013, in which year Wakuda became the first internationally-based Japanese chef to receive the Japanese government's Master of Cuisine award. He now runs one of Singapore's most acclaimed and costly restaurants, Waku Ghin.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2005
Accession number: 2005.68