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Meet the chef

About Us

 

Biography
Katsuya Uechi
Executive Chef/Owner

As one of only four Master sushi chefs in Los Angeles, Chef Katsuya Uechi brings three decades of culinary artistry and restaurant operations to the world. Katsuya Uechi was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, known simply as “KATSU”- for his distinctive style and first –rate execution of high quality traditional sushi, Uechi is recognized as one of the major style setters in the world of Japanese cuisine.

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The Original Sushi Katsuya:
Chef Katsu-ya apprenticed in the sushi bars of Osaka, Tokyo and Okinawa before he ventured overseas to U.S.A.  A Classically trained chef, Katsuya Uechi came to Los Angeles in 1984.
After worked as a chef in restaurants Chef Katsuya opened his first restaurant, Sushi Katsu-ya, in Studio City in 1997.
Uechi was challenged by the customers who are from different cultures. That is how he started creating and fired up his own style today as Katsu’s style. Once he has started creating his own ideas the ideas are keeping coming up.
There is the food called Salsa in Mexican food. He added sesame oil to ponzu and made Japanese version of salsa. And, he put on the salsa on tuna sashimi with avocado topping on top. That became a long seller item at Katsuya restaurants.
Katsuya’s Japanese Kanji Symbol “KATSU” means “victory” or “ to win” and it’s fitting considering the loyal following of Hollywood A-listers and ZAGAT critics which chef Katsuya has won over with his inventive combination of Japanese and California cuisine. In 2003 Chef produced “KOI” restaurant West Hollywood. This both modern yet Zen-inspired restaurant quickly drew attention and earned great reviews.
In May of 2004, Katsuya opened second store in Encino L.A. It was an immediate success; the restaurant received highest score from ZAGAT critics.
In Jun 2006, “KATSUYA” 1ST store in Brentwood was opened with SBE, a Global hospitality and entertainment company by executive chairman Sam Nazarian.
The Brentwood location has been deemed “one of the most exciting restaurant to open in Los Angeles in years” by Food & Wine Magazine and his restaurants are a favorite among Hollywood elite. He skillfully evolves Japanese sushi and Robata classics with inspired dishes including original creations like spicy yellowtail tuna sashimi with crispy rice and jalapeno, and Miso-marinated black cod.
Chef also produced “Hyde” lounge in Hollywood on the year.
He was named “chef of the year” by Angelino Magazine and selected by Travel+ Leisure as one of the best restaurants of 2007 and in Feb, Katsuya created new concept restaurant “the Izakaya by Katsu-ya” 1ST store in West Hollywood and same year Oct he also opened “ KATSUYA” seconds store with SBE in Hollywood.  In May of 2008 “KATSUYA” third store in Glendale.
In order to opening more restaurants Chef Katsuya had to face on the issues of training young chefs who grew up various  countries does not have any knowledge about sushi not even the basic rule of being hygiene. Katsuya realized that he needs to teach young chefs in a logical manner otherwise they won’t understand why it has to be done that way. (Correct way.)
For solving this issue in Sep 2008, Katsuya started his sushi school with Mr. Kanai who is the CEO of Mutual Trading CO. teaching basic of sushi making.
In Dec 2008 “Kiwami” by Katsu-ya opened in Studio city. In July 2009 KATSUYA fourth store opened in L.A live.
In Jan 2010 second location of “The Izakaya by Katsu-ya” design by Yukiloz opened in Manhattan Beach.
Currently Chef Katsu-ya has fifteen locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Beach, Kuwait and Dubai and Katsu-ya group operates Sushi Katsu-ya, The Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya and Kiwami by Katsu-ya restaurant concepts with more scheduled openings internationally.
His Collaboration with SBE, which combines Japanese classics and sleek sultry interiors (designed by design icon Philippe Starck), has become a touchstone for hip dining and expanding the popular Kaysuya restaurant brand around the world.
His cooking, which is the essence of “Washo-ku” which refers to traditional Japanese cuisine. The traditionally trained Japanese sushi chef has had great challenges to overcome, relating to the new culture, regional ingredients and inventing his signature dishes using fish and seafood to successfully create his own style of dishes and overall customer experience.
Chef has been featured serval times on the NBC news and cooking shows and 2013 he’s collaborated with Golden Ramsay on the TV show “Top chef”.
Chef has also been featured in the documentary movie “WA-SHOKU” ~beyond the sushi
2015 (in Theater April, 2015) and has collaborated with other top of Chefs Nobu Matsuhisa, David Baouley etc.
Katsuya Uechi lives in Los Angles, with his wife who has been supporting chef for all this years.

 

 

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Biography
Kentaro Uechi
Executive Chef

Kentaro Uechi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He is the eldest son of Katsuya Uechi, and grew up watching his father run their first restaurant in Studio City. As a child, Kentaro helped the family business, and would wash dishes and buss tables. In 2006, he started training in the kitchen and worked his way up to sushi chef. In 2008, Katsuya and Mutual Trading Company formed the Sushi Institute of America where Kentaro was an instructor. In 2012, The Little Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya opened lead by Kentaro as head chef. Currently, Kentaro holds the position of Executive Chef and oversees all restaurants in Katsu-ya Group, Inc.

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Biography
Shinij Kugita
Executive Chef

Shinji Kugita was born in Kyoto, Japan.  Shinji, at the age 18, decided to start his culinary journey.  His training in Japan focused mainly on Japanese and Western cuisine. In 2004, Shinji came to the United States to expand his culinary knowledge. In 2010, Shinji joined Katsu-ya Group, and within 6 months, Chef Katsuya recognized his skills and talent, and promoted him to Executive Chef in charge of all locations in Katsu-ya Group.