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... East Japanese Restaurant?

Published:Thursday | October 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Chef Taka Utoguchi. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
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Owner and head chef of East Japanese Restaurant Chef Taka Utoguchi has brought a slice of his native country, Japan, to Jamaica. And, it can be experienced through his authentic Japanese cuisine.

Chef Utoguchi visited the island in 1989 on vacation. He said he had a fantastic time going to parties, seeing the different places and eating Jamaican food. His experience got him thinking that maybe he could move here with his wife and two children. And, nine years ago, his wishes became a reality and he packed up and, with his family, came to the island.

He told Food that when he first got here he worked at the Wydham Hotel, the then Hilton Kingston hotel. "And, six years later, I am amazed to have opened my own restaurant," said Chef Utoguchi.

For chef Utoguchi, cooking has always been something he loves, but after leaving high school he had a toss up of being a chef or a fashion designer. In the end he chose to be in the kitchen and went through the necessary culinary training. Currently, he is a certified Japanese chef and has worked in other chains of East Japanese Restaurant in Miami and New York in the United States.

Chef Utoguchi said that, though he loves cooking, when he goes home or is on his day off he does not cook. In fact, most times on his day off he goes to different Jamaican restaurants and enjoys some good island food.

For The Gleaner-sponsored Restaurant Week, the chef said he wants to see more young people coming out for an authentic Japanese cuisine experience. He also said that, in the future, he wants to do a fusion of Japanese and Jamaican cuisine.

- Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore