THERE’S A NEW CHEF IN THESE PARTS
In the food game, there are certain chefs that stand tall among the pack. Ever since the concept of “celebrity chef” was coined, notable chefs, beloved for their flare and originality, are the reason why food lovers flock to their restaurants. We all know the heavy hitters; they are superstars who are more famous than the restaurants they cook at.
While he many not be a household name, foodies are well aware of the legend that is Chef Shigefumi Tachibe. Chef Tachibe is credited with inventing tuna tartare, a staple and beloved dish around the world. As Corporate Executive Chef of the CHAYA Restaurant Group for the past 31 years, Chef oversaw several popular restaurants. He recently departed from CHAYA to focus on his restaurant Osawa in Pasadena, which he runs with his wife Sayuri Tachibe. In fact, Chef has been a fixture since Osawa opened two and a half year ago, but now he’s officially part of the Shabu Shabu and Sushi Bar restaurant in Old Town Pasadena. Foodies should be delighted that they’ll be seeing a lot of Chef Tachibe who is looking forward to getting back into the kitchen.
As Corporate Executive Chef of the CHAYA Restaurant Group, Chef Tachibe created imaginative dishes, as well as passed along his skills, knowledge and sheer love for cooking. Tachibe, schooled in formal French technique at the young age of 15, was not only an instrumental player in launching the Japanese-based CHAYA concept in the United States in 1981, but he practically introduced macrobiotic cuisine to mainstream California by way of M Caféin Los Angeles.
“CHAYA was my family and I am honored to have spent over thirty years with this incredible company,” says Chef Tachibe. “Now that I am switching my focus from a corporate one to Osawa, I will get to spend more time in the kitchen cooking and getting back to the roots of authentic Japanese cuisine.”
Working side by side with his wife Sayuri Tachibe, Chef Tachibe will feature seasonal dishes, many including farmers’ market fresh ingredients like earthy Matsutake mushrooms, hearty game meats and of course, a bounty of fresh fall catch, mainly from Japan.
The Osawa lunch and dinner menus will feature many favorites, from Crispy Yuzu Pepper Duck Breast with green onion, eggplant and sweet miso; Ahi Tuna Tataki with avocado, popped wild rice and sesame ponzu; tasty Shabu Shabu offerings of Prime Rib Eye, Rib Eye, Pork Loin and Wagyu Beef from Kyushu, Japan; Baked Soy Marinated Black Cod; and fresh Sushi cuts; and of course rolls and Sashimi.
During a recent visit for dinner, I must say it was a welcome treat to see such a towering figure in the chef game working in the kitchen. And the result is fantastic fare—pleasing dishes that are light and fresh, and of course wonderful to the taste. The BBQ Eel Bowl was an absolute favorite. The sushi and sashimi offerings continue to remain simple, yet so fresh and delectable, as were the oysters to start.
With his chef knife housed in the National Museum of American History from the Smithsonian Collection, this culinary world pioneer, whose modesty may just be the only thing that surpasses his talent, is content with working “closer to his new home in Pasadena” at Osawa.
“We will eventually be opening another Osawa and I will be working on new projects in the Greater Los Angeles area,” Chef explained. “I am excited for this new chapter of growth and I am especially inspired to get back into the kitchen and be more hands on.”
While Chef Tachibe has firmed ingrained his mark on the CHAYA cuisine, it is such a treat to see him in action in the Osawa kitchen, excited and exuberant, and crafting delicious dishes we can all happily sink our teeth into.
Osawa is located at 77 N. Raymond Avenue in Pasadena and is open for Lunch daily from 11:30am to 2:30pm and Dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5pm to 9:30pm and Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 10pm. For more information or reservations, call 626-683-1150.
Story by Jose Martinez
Some Photography Courtesy of: Osawa
Chef Shigefumi Tachibe photo by: Michael Ryan Photography