Tetsuya Wakuda is widely considered Australia’s finest and most innovative chef — “an Australian original, ” according to the Wine Spectator, “whose bold creativity and impeccable technique have won him admirers the world over.” In his long-awaited first book, Tetsuya now shares his inspiring story, legendary recipes, and his passion for the finer things in life.
Tetsuya Wakuda is a true artist. Inspired by the ingredients native to his adopted country (Australia) and the techniques and flavors of his birthplace (Japan), Tetsuya combines them to complement and highlight each other in the simplest ways to bring out the most complicated flavors. For those of us unfamiliar with his reputation, Tetsuya comes with a glowing forward by Charlie Trotter that refers to Tetsuya in the same breath as Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller, and rightly so.
Tetsuya grew up in Hamamatsu, a town in the prefecture of Shizuoka on Honshu in Japan. In 1982, he moved to Sydney, Australia, where he began his cooking career. He opened Tetsuya’s in 1989, and it quickly became known as one of Australia’s premier restaurants. Among many other awards, Tetsuya’s was inducted into the American Express Hall of Fame in 1999.
Tetsuya’s presentation is perfection. Details like minute brunoise and matchstick julienne are beautiful to behold, but it’s his ethereal marinades and his thoughtful use of ingredients like fresh ginger, garlic, soy, mirin, and wasabi that make his dishes so memorable, and that allow us mere mortals to follow his recipes successfully. At Tetsuya, meals are presented as numerous small dishes, but you can multiply any of his recipes to work as main courses. Linguine with a Ragout of Oriental Mushrooms is simple to prepare and bursts with the rich, earthy flavor of exotic mushrooms brightened by hints of garlic, sake, mirin, tomato, and chile. Tartare of Tuna with Goat Cheese requires sushi-quality tuna, so if you can get it, this dish is quick and easy and luscious with fresh, creamy goat cheese and lively with cayenne, garlic, ginger, white pepper, and anchovies. Not all of Tetsuya’s creations are Asian influenced. There are many magnificent European-style dishes, like a Salad of Sea Scallops with Asparagus and Beans, Venison with Roasted Shallots and Morels, and Granny Smith Apple Sorbet with Sauternes Jelly.
Stunning photographs of dreamy dishes and delightful bits of commentary separate recipes laid out like poetry to make this a culinary page-turner and a gift-worthy book. Without a doubt, Tetsuya would make an exciting addition to the kitchen collection of gourmets who love to cook with ingredients like market-fresh produce, sushi-quality fish and shellfish, fresh venison, squab, and guinea fowl. Leora Y. Bloom