Interview with Chef Tatsuya Katagiri

Vancouver is home to some of the best chefs in the world, many have worked for the top chefs and restaurants around the world as well as around the city. Dishing with the Chefs is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in and around Vancouver.

Chef Tatsuya Katagiri

Chef Tatsuya Katagiri

Started cooking when he was 19 years old while living in Tokyo, while he was going to university studying Engineering in the School of Management. At the same time he was working at a Japanese Restaurant for 3 years. He obtained his Japanese Culinary Certificate (Japanese government issued) for having worked for 2 years in restaurants and passed the exam. He then relocated to Vancouver on a working holiday visa and worked at Ichibankan Restaurant, after 9 months he returned to Tokyo where he worked in a Japanese restaurant as a chef for 2 years. He then moved to Calgary in 2002 where he lived for 6 years, while he was there he worked as the head chef at Shikiji Restaurant for 2 years, then Sushi Bar Zipang for 2 years and Mercato (Italian restaurant) for 2 years. In 2008 he moved to Vancouver, becoming the Executive Chef of Zest Japanese Cuisine.

You can follow Chef Tatsuya Katagiri on twitter  @Tatsuyawine

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Did you always have an interest in Wine?


How did you get your Sommelier certificate?

I started while I was in Calgary with the ISG (International Sommelier Guild) and passed level 2, then I did the WSET Advanced in Vancouver.

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How do you use both your Sommelier and Chef roles at Zest Japanese Cuisine?

I am the wine director which creates the wine list and the chef for the restaurant.

1st dish:

Roasted Duck Carpaccio

Roasted Duck Carpaccio

Roasted Duck Carpaccio

Sansho – Japanese pepper herbs

Black sesame

Balsamic sauce

Quinoa (with dried cranberries and asparagus)

Mustard greens for garnish

Fried leeks

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Always thinking which wine would pair well with a dish. Thinking a Rose and a carpaccio.

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Did you always want to be a chef growing up in Japan?

Not really, OI loved cooking while I was growing up, but wasn’t thinking of it as a profession.

2nd dish:

Cauliflower and Tofu Agadashi

Cauliflower and Tofu Agadashi

Cauliflower and Tofu Agadashi

Cauliflower puree

Sesame paste

Arrowroot powder

Soy dashi broth

Alaskan snow crab

Grated fresh ginger

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Typical Japanese dish with local seasonal vegetables and Kitsilano neighborhood likes this type of dish.

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What is your favourite food to eat?


What are your favourite restaurants outside of where you work?

  • Forage
  • Farmers Apprentice
  • Espana
  • Siena
  • Suika

3rd dish:

Crunch Pacific Halibut

Crunch Pacific Halibut

Crunch Pacific Halibut


sockeye salmon


fennel slaw

Yuzu vinaigrette

mustard greens

pine nuts

Yuzu aioli

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Spring refreshness and the use of citrus flavours in a deep fried dish and using smoked salmon to flavour the halibut.

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What do you like to do in your spare time?

  • Watch baseball in Seattle
  • Running
  • Family time

Which are your Favourite Wines?

  • Alsation Wines
  • Riesling –favourite variety
  • Tuscany region
  • BC wine

4th dish:

Green Tea Tiramisu

Green Tea Tiramisu

Green Tea Tiramisu

White chocolate

Dash of rum

Lady fingers

Matcha tea

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Having had worked Italian pastry while I was in Calgary, learning from an Italian mama and mixing the Japanese culture with green tea.

Which wine pairs best with your Sushi?

Mousscadet L’oir Valley (France)

Where do you get your inspiration for your dishes at Zest Japanese Cuisine?

We are selling wine in a Japanese restaurant, I get ideas from the seasons, and the community here, making dishes that make the customers happy.

Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.

By: Richard Wolak

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