Takashi Yagihashi

Why Because his dishes exquisitely combine French and Japanese ideas. Born Mito, Japan, 1957. Experience Yoshi's Cafe and Ambria in Chicago. Early food memory "I grew up only 10 miles from the ocean, so we had lots of fresh seafood. Fish was very cheap, meat was very expensive so nobody ever fed me beef or lamb." Favorite childhood restaurants "Western food was very rare in my town, so McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken were high-end." Least favorite food "Okay, I'm not crazy about ketchup. But I like mayonnaise." A rule in his kitchen His line cooks are forbidden to have soft drinks while they're working. "I think it ruins their palates." What he'd be if he weren't a chef A "Pat Metheny-style" guitarist. Favorite restaurants Savarin and Arun in Chicago. What he does when he's not working Spends time with his wife and three children, ages eight, five and one. "I cook traditional Japanese food; the kids like it. My son's favorite is sukiyaki. He calls it brown meat.'" Won Best New Chef at: Tribute, Farmington Hills, MI
Chef Way Takashi Yagihashi crusts strip steak with a spicy wasabi-horseradish cream, then serves it with miso-glazed potatoes and deep-fried salsify (a root vegetable).Healthier Way Coat lean but tasty flank steak with bottled horseradish and wasabi—no cream. Skip the salsify. More Amazing Steak Recipes
Stir-Fried Udon Noodles
Rating: Unrated
For a Taste of: JapanTry this book: Takashi's NoodlesIn this cookbook, top Chicago chef Takashi Yagihashi divulges his best recipes for ramen, soba, udon, rice noodles and more.More Fast Asian Dishes
Chef Way Takashi Yagihashi cooks scallops, squid and shrimp in stock, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil and mirin, then tops the dish with crispy deep-fried noodles.Healthier Way Stir-fry shrimp in a small amount of oil and top with a light sprinkling of crunchy instant ramen noodles. More Fast Asian Noodle Recipes
Chef Way Takashi Yagihashi roasts hamachi (yellowtail) until crisp, then combines it with buttery root vegetables, spinach and a lush sauce of mirin, soy sauce, butter and Szechuan peppercorns.Healthier Way To simplify the recipe, skip the hamachi in favor of easy-to-find tuna and cook it in a touch of oil. Don't make the sauce; instead, use the key ingredients to flavor the root vegetables. More Fast Asian Recipes
Pork Fried Rice
Rating: Unrated
Chicago shoppers are in luck: Takashi Yagihashi (an F&W Best New Chef 2000) has a Japanese noodle shop in the Macy's on State Street. On his menu is this Japanese-style pork fried rice, his favorite childhood after-school snack.