Chef Katsuji Tanabe is the son of a Japanese father and Mexican mother. Born and raised in Mexico City, Katsuji spent his formative years watching and learning from chefs in the homes of the city’s elite, picking up recipes, techniques and sparking a lifelong passion for Mexican cooking along the way.
Katsuji attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. After that, he was eager to expand his horizons and explore the Japanese side of his heritage. He set off for a remote village outside of Hiroshima, where he apprenticed for local chefs, learning precision, discipline, and organization.
Katsuji returned to LA in 2006, where he honed his skills in some of LA’s most prestigious kitchens, including the celebrated, four-star Bastide Restaurant and Beverly Hill’s Mastro’s Steakhouse.
Katsuji opened his first restaurant, Mexikosher, in 2010, offering up his favorite Mexican dishes, while abiding by the Kosher laws. In August of 2016, Mexikosher opened its first East Coast location on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with plans to expand to many more locations. Mexikosher has been celebrated among the best Mexican food in both Los Angeles and New York.
He has also competed on Top Chef four times, including the latest season Top Chef Charleston.
Most recently, in July 2017, Katsuiji opened Barrio in Chicago, his first non-Kosher restaurant focusing on traditional Mexican food, with pan-Latin and American influences.