From Tokyo, to Paris, to Lyon, to Chicago, Yoshi Katsumura has pioneered the art of international cuisine. His gastronomic artistry melds Asian and French textures and flavors to create the singular cuisine of Yoshi’s Café.
Katsumura, who was born in Ibaraki, Japan. He was only 20 when he apprenticed with Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai in Tokyo. After several years of training in the intricacies of fine French cooking, Katsumura moved to Chicago in 1973. There he worked his way up the culinary ladder at well-known food spas like Le Bastille, La Reserve and Le Français, where he was tutored by the famed Jean Banchet.
Katsumura later spent a year in France, honing his culinary skills in Paris and Lyon. He returned to Chicago as a chef and partner at Jimmy’s Place, then one of the city’s premiere French fusion restaurants.
In 1982 Katsumura went solo with Yoshi’s Café. Ever since, his cooking has been celebrated by peers and critics alike. “Yoshi’s colorful and tempting dishes are as eye-appealing as a Dutch still life,” said Gourmet magazine.
A profile by the Great Chefs television series noted that “after changing cultures himself, Yoshi is a keen observer of how American culture is changing.” And Katsumura told Great Chefs: “A contrast of textures, like those found in Japanese food, became very important to me. I like to put together dishes with little bits of the best of all cultures.”
His innovative menus epitomize the word “eclectic.” Diners flock to North Halsted Street for perennial favorites like Hamachi tartare, accompanied by creamy guacamole and a sake-fused oyster shooter. Panko-encrusted rack of lamb is another popular pick.
And there’s the delectable Wagyu burger. Always on the cutting edge, Katsumura was an early adopter of Wagyu, the Westernized version of the popular Kobe beef of his native Japan. Yoshi’s Wagyu comes courtesy of Allen Brothers, a superior steak purveyer.
Yoshi’s Café has been featured by the Food Network and was named one of “America’s Top Tables” by Gourmet. Conde Nast magazine dubbed Yoshi a top chef.
Yoshi’s has also been featured in Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator, Travel and Leisure, Fortune and Vanity Fair.
Katsumura was chosen as one of America's Outstanding Chefs by Grand Master Chefs of America. The restaurant has been honored as one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America, has received the AAA Four Diamond and Zagat awards, among many others.
In November 2012 Yoshi’s will celebrate its 30th anniversary, a rare feat for any fine dining establishment.
In 2010, Chicago magazine declared, “This treasure has delighted for three decades simpy because Yoshi Katsumura's gentle fusion continues to sparkle.”