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A Quick Interview with Tetsuya Wakuda, the Chef behind the World’s Most Photographed Dish

July 18, 2017

Tetsuya Wakuda is one of the world’s most respected chefs—and he has the accolades to prove it. The Japanese immigrant’s relocation to Australia was a turning point, leading to a decades-long career that has seen him consistently ranked as one Australia’s (and the world’s) best cooks, employing classical French technique with fresh Australian ingredients, and a pure, clean, Japanese palate. We were able to pick his brain for a few minutes, after he received a second Michelin star for his incredibly popular Singaporean outpost, Waku Ghin.

What’s your earliest food memory? It was my mother’s food. I think everyone will say that.

What was the first food you ever cooked? I actually never cooked when I was younger! When I moved to Australia, that’s when I started cooking.

Why did you fall in love with Australia and Australian cooking? The people, the food, and actually the whole country’s produce. It has such a diverse system, tropical climate in one part, entirely different in another.

Which Australian product can you not live without? All of the Australian ingredients! It has to be the freshest, and of highest quality. But I guess, it would have to be ocean trout.

What’s the dish that really encapsulates your career? I guess it would be the confit of ocean trout. Apparently, people say it’s the most photographed dish in the world. It’s been more than 25 years since we’ve been doing it in Tetsuya.

We’re here to celebrate restaurants with Michelin stars, but what places do you feel are underrated in Australia and Singapore? Oh no, there are too many good restaurants in Singapore. I start to wonder which ones I should go to on each trip. I like this chicken rice place for example, but then every time [I visit], there’s another better one after that. The only problem is, as you can see eating is my sport. There’s a huge variety of cuisine, and there’s so many regional cuisines as well. It’s really too big a melting point.

Visit Tetsuya Wakuda’s 2 Michelin star restaurant Waku Ghin, in Singapore during the Singapore Food Festival running now until July 30.
Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

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