Tetsuya Wakuda grew up in the Japanese town of Hamamatsu, and at the age of 22 decided to travel to Australia.
Arriving in Sydney in 1982 with nothing more than a small suitcase and a love of food, Tetsuya landed his very first job as a kitchen hand at Fishwives in Surry Hills. A year later he was introduced to Sydney chef Tony Bilson, who was looking for a Japanese cook to make sushi. It was there at Tony’s kitchen at Kinsela’s Tetsuya realised that he wanted to cook, and could cook very well! Here also he learnt the classical French technique that forms part of his unique style today.
Tetsuya left Kinsela’s in 1983, and opened Ultimo’s, where he quickly learnt about the responsibility of running his own business. His own restaurant, Tetsuya’s opened in 1989 as a tiny shopfront in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle and was booked out with daily waiting lists.
In November 2000, Tetsuya relocated his restaurant from Rozelle to a heritage-listed site in Sydney’s Kent Street. The restaurant features a large, custom-made kitchen that will continue to deliver Tetsuya’s unique cuisine based on the Japanese philosophy of natural seasonal flavours, enhanced by classic French technique.
Charlie Trotter said of this chef: “Tetsuya is part of an elite group of international chefs that has influenced other chefs through their personal styles and unique approaches to food. His culinary philosophy centres on pure, clean flavours that are decisive, yet completely refined. His amazing technique, Asian heritage, sincere humility, worldwide travels and insatiable curiosity combine to create incredible, soulful dishes that exude passion in every bite.”
Gregg Wallace is a British fruit and vegetable expert, writer, presenter and greengrocer.
He is probably best known for co-presenting and judging BBC Two's BAFTA-winning MasterChef: The Professionals with Michel Roux Jr, and BBC One's MasterChef and Celebrity MasterChef, along with John Torode.
Gregg was born in Peckham and began his career selling vegetables at a stand in Covent Garden. He started George Allan's Greengrocers in 1989, a company that built up to an eventual turnover of £7.5 million. Due to his success, he was asked to co-present Veg Talk on BBC Radio 4 and then TV show Saturday Kitchen.
He writes regularly for Good Food and Olive magazines, is managing director of mail-order business Gregg's Veg and is also co-director of West Veg Limited, supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to the restaurant and hotel industry.
Gregg’s first restaurant venture, Wallace & Co, opened to high praise. Featuring the very best of British fruit and veg, the menu changes regularly to reflect the seasonality of the produce.
Gregg splits his time between London and Seasalter, Whitstable where he lives with his fiancée and two children.
Heading to America at the tender age of 12 to pursue his dreams of becoming a chef, New Zealand-born Daniel Wilson’s passion for food has only intensified.
After learning under chefs like Daniel Boulud in New York, Daniel moved to Melbourne to work with Andrew Blake at Blakes Cafeteria. In 2003, his reputation was only further enhanced after being awarded The Age Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year.
Daniel is now head chef and owner of his own restaurant, Huxtable, considered to be one of Melbourne’s most exciting culinary hotspots.
Alla Wolf-Tasker is the Executive Chef of (and driving force behind) the award-winning Lake House in picturesque Daylesford, Victoria, one of Australia’s most highly-regarded gourmet retreats. Since its birth in 1984, Lake House has flourished from a 45-seat restaurant on a badly eroded paddock to into a boutique hotel with 33 rooms.
Passionate about the development of contemporary cuisine in Australia, Alla helms a team of creative and dedicated young chefs who continue to impress guests with the culinary skills that they have learnt under her guidance. She also participates in guest chef programs globally, such as James Beard House in NYC.
Alla is a director on the board of Tourism Victoria and a member of the Victorian Food and Wine Tourism Council. She is also a proud proponent of regional produce, as Chair of the Daylesford and Macedon Produce Group and Patron of the Daylesford Primary School Kitchen Garden.
The Melbourne Food and Wine festival awarded Alla the title of ‘Living Legend’. She is also the recipient of the Age Good Food Guide Award for Professional Excellence and was honoured with an Order of Australia for her services to the tourism and hospitality industry in 2007. Her book Lake House - A Culinary Journey in Country Australia , which sees her share stories of Lake House, local food and the hospitality industry, was released to excellent reviews.
Adriano Zumbo is no ordinary patissier. His creations elicit admiration from critics and the public alike and for good reason; they’re unique in concept and execution – quite simply, you won’t find anything else quite like it in Australia.
This country boy’s first taste of the sweet life was raiding the lollies and cake mix from his parent’s Coonamble supermarket. In his pursuit of mastering the art of pastry, he has trained and worked both in Australia and France with Australian culinary greats such as Neil Perry and international heavyweights Ramon Morato and Pierre Herme.
Inspired by the world around him, his desserts tell a story or take on the personality of their namesakes. Whether it’s ‘Lukas Rides the Tube’ or ‘Escape from a Columbian Rainforest’, Adriano’s fertile mind, exceptional skill and natural curiosity for unlikely ingredients are his biggest assets.
MasterChef Australia may have made Adriano a household name, but devotees to his Balmain patisserie and Café Chocolat would probably prefer to keep his creations to themselves.
2010 will see Adriano’s first book published and several other creative projects on the boil. His goal is to ‘caramelise the nation’ and it certainly seems that he is well on his way.
Adriano Zumbo's website