About Tamura

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Taichi Kitamura, Ecexutive Chef

- What led you to become a sushi chef?

I have always had a fascination with aquatic life, even at a young age. Growing up in Kyoto, I used to play at a creek near my house where there was a waterfall. I never grew tired of checking out the tadpoles, salamanders, and small fish.

I was also always comfortable in restaurants because my parents owned western styled cafés in Kyoto.

- So, you were born and grew up in Kyoto. How did you end up in Seattle?

During my senior year of high school, I did a 1-year exchange program at Lynwood High school. Then, I went to Seattle University and received a Bachelor's degree in International Studies.

- How was your high school experience, coming in as a foreign exchange student?

I had to learn how to fit in, and joining the swim team really helped with that. My event was the individual medley, and I remember having a friendly rivalry with a fellow teammate who was a German exchange student. I beat him which was really satisfying.

- What is your favorite restaurant at the moment?

Sand Point Grill. It is such a casual local restaurant, where the staff are really nice and there is a sense of community. I always feel relaxed when I dine there. My favorite items on the menu are the pork chops and braised beef.

- What is something on the menu at Tamura you wish people would try?

Whole fish. You can really lock in the flavor and moist texture with a fish that has not been de-skinned and beheaded. If it is slow, I am more than happy to show people how to debone fish so they aren’t intimidated by it.

- You are a dad now. What’s the key thing that has changed in your life?

My daughter, Tamie, gives me even more motivation to work hard. I want her to be proud of me – to see that I love what I do and that I am good at that. I know kids can see that, and I think it is really important.

- What is your #1 recommendation on what to do in Japan?

Check out the Gion Festival in Kyoto. It lasts the entire month of July and consists of a parade with many traditional floats. It is also a time where families open up their home and share their heirloom treasures such as swords and pottery that have been passed down through generations.

- What do you like to do on your day off?

I enjoy fly fishing very much. I just love it. I of course enjoy spending time with my wife, my daughter and our Jack Russell terrier.

Hirokazu Tawara, Sous Chef

- Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Osaka, but went to Kyoto for college to study business.

- Did you stay in Kyoto after college?

After I graduated from Doshisha University, I was trained as a chef at in Kyoto. I started with an apprenticeship at Yamato, a traditional Kaiseki restaurant, and worked my way up.

- When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

I first knew I wanted to be a chef when I was 4 years old. I knew I wanted to specialize in Japanese cuisine when I was 10. I read a lot of Japanese comics growing up and I really liked the scenes featuring Japanese chefs cooking delicious food.

- What is your favorite aspect of working at Sushi Kappo Tamura?

I really like the diversity of staff at Sushi Kappo Tamura, and executing on Taichi’s vision of pairing traditional sushi methods with a Pacific NW flare.

- What do you like to do when you are not working?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and our two children: Michiand Himari. I also enjoy snowboarding. I took my son for snowboarding for the first time this year.

- What is something on the menu at Tamura you wish people would try?

Ask about our seasonal specials of the day.

- Where was the last place you went out to eat?

Oak Table in Kingston for breakfast. I had sourdough pancakes and omelets. I thought the portions are huge, but I hear they are considered average size by American standards.