2020 Seattle Rising Star Chef Shota Nakajima of Adana

2020 Seattle Rising Star Chef Shota Nakajima of Adana
January 2020

Adana
1449 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122
www.adanaseattle.com

Recipe

Photos

With a mother coming from a professional baking lineage, and a father whose family owns three-Michelin-starred Hyotei, there is no wondering why Shota Nakajima was a culinary wunderkind. Born in Japan and raised in Seattle, 16-year old Nakajima dropped out of school to become a chef. He started small, washing dishes and peeling onions at any Japanese restaurant he could find. At eighteen, he moved to Osaka to train in Japanese cuisine. While there, he apprenticed with Michelin-starred Chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto at Kappo Sakamoto for four years, learning the form and style of Japanese fine-dining. 

Nakajima’s first meal back in Seattle was at Sushi Kappo Tamura, and one day later, he was working there. Another year later, Nakajima moved to the operations side of the hospitality industry and went corporate, managing concepts for a group in various locations across the city. Missing the energy of the kitchen, Nakajima began moonlighting as a caterer. With his catering business gaining popularity and interest from investors, Nakajima opened fine Japanese restaurant, Naka, in 2015. After a year and a half of service, Nakajima closed Naka, and in 2017, he reopened the space as a new, more casual Japanese concept, Adana. Nakajima also has a funky, Japanese-style bar in the works for the spring of 2020. He has received an Eater “Young Guns” Award, and beat Bobby Flay on Food Newtork’s “Beat Bobby Flay.” In 2018 and 2019, Nakajima was a semifinalist for James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year.



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