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A quiet confidence

epicure 1 February 2011
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Culinary talent may get you a leg up in the Restaurant Hall of Fame, but as Tetsuya Wakuda proves, natural humility, methodical obsession and non-negotiable discipline are traits that will keep you in the business.

It’s no secret that Tetsuya Wakuda loves Singapore. He affectionately calls it his “playground” for great food: just last year alone, he was here 28 times. These days, the 51-year-old Australian, who made his name with his eponymous restaurant in Sydney, can call the city-state his new turf for work. He spends about half of his time at Waku Ghin, his outpost which opened last year at Marina Bay Sands to great reviews.

Being a chef wasn’t part of his plan when he first arrived in Sydney from his Japanese town of Hamamatsu in 1982. Bitten by wanderlust, he was on his way to the U.S. but decided to stay for a year in Australia to improve his “dodgy” English. He found a job as a kitchen hand at Kinsela’s, where chef Tony Bilson was running the show. Till this day, Wakuda still wonders how he got employed. “I had no experience, but Tony said he didn’t know why [he chose me]. He once had a Japanese chef work for him and he enjoyed it, so he thought, why not another one?”

Excerpt from the February issue of epicure.

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