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Thirty-six years since the doors opened at Yoshi's Café, the accolades are still rolling in. 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.

Yoshi passed away in August 2015, but his legacy is stronger than ever. Miguel Carchi, Yoshi's longtime protégé, has superbly continued his singular cuisine. His wife Nobuko finesses the restaurant's floor and welcomes the restaurant's "family" of loyal fans.

Yoshi, born in Ibaraki, Japan, 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, Yoshi 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 chef Jean Banchet.

Katsumura later spent months honing his culinary skills in Paris and Lyon, France.  He returned to Chicago as a chef and partner at Jimmy’s Place, then a premiere French fusion restaurant.

In 1982 Yoshi and his wife, Nobuko, were young entrepreneurs opened Yoshi’s Café.  Ever since, it 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.

This food spa in the trendy Lakeview community is a Chicago institution. 

A profile by the “Great Chefs” TV series noted that “after changing cultures himself, Yoshi is a keen observer of how American culture is changing.” 

Yoshi 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.” 

Yoshi’s innovative menus epitomize the word “eclectic.” Diners flock to North Halsted Street for perennial favorites like Tuna Tartare, accompanied by creamy guacamole and a sake-fused oyster shooter.  Yoshi’s inventive Bento Box Dinner, which stars an oven roasted sable fish, glazed with ginger soy sauce, is another popular pick.  

And there’s the delectable Wagyu Burger. Always on the cutting edge, Yoshi Katsumura was an early adopter of Wagyu, the Westernized
version of the popular Kobe beef of his native Japan. His creation won the 2012 “Best Burger” award at the Hamburger Hop, the showcase event at the annual Chicago Gourmet food and wine festival. 

Yoshi’s Café has been featured by The Food Network and was named one of “America’s Top Tables” by Gourmet magazine.  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.

Chef Katsumura was chosen as one of America's Outstanding Chefs by Grand Master Chefs of America.  The restaurant has been named as one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America, and has received the AAA Four Diamond and Zagat awards, among other honors.  

The Katsumura family has served communities in many other ways, near and far.  In 2011, Yoshi’s Café hosted a Relief for the People of Japan Fundraising Dinner, raising $10,000 to support the victims of the historic earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.
In 2012, the restaurant sponsored a fundraising dinner to support New Yorkers struggling with the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.  

Yoshi Katsumura served on the board of the Northalsted Area Merchants Association from 1990 to 2012.

In April 2014, in recognition of these many contributions, the corner of West Aldine at Halsted streets was renamed “Yoshi Katsumura Way.” 

“Yoshi, our award winning chef, and pioneer entrepreneur on Halsted Street, has redefined neighborhood fine dining citywide.  We want to recognize Yoshi for his talents in the kitchen and commitment to Lakeview,” said 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney, who sponsored the special Chicago City Council ordinance designating the street.

Yoshi’s 36-year run is a rare feat for any fine dining establishment.

Chicago magazine named Yoshi’s one of “the 40 best Chicago restaurants of all time,” declaring: “This treasure has delighted for three decades simply because Yoshi Katsumura's gentle fusion continues to sparkle. ”

Yoshi and Nobuko have two grown children, Mari and Ken. 

Yoshi’s Café is located at 3257 N. Halsted Street.

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