DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Thursday -

IDON’T know that I’ve ever come across a res­tau­rant that’s got its own call cen­tre. They show the one be­long­ing to Tet­suya’s and it doesn’t look like the ones you see in your head when you get a phone call about alu­minium cladding at din­ner time.

Gee, hasn’t Tet­suya Wakuda done well. Came to Aus­tralia from Ja­pan in 1982 with, as he puts it, no money, no lan­guage, no skills, noth­ing.

‘‘ But some­how, I liked this place. I don’t know what I thought. Just hopped in a taxi, came to the city. That’s my start.’’

I re­ally liked this show. Though I could’ve done with a bit more cook­ing. See­ing him do his thing. I can’t carp though, there’s plenty in it. We meet Danny White, for in­stance, the chef who gave him his first job 28 years ago, clean­ing 5kg of whit­ing ev­ery day, scal­ing them, tak­ing all the bones out, a job ev­ery­body in the kitchen hated. They’re still friends. Says some­thing about both of them, re­ally. Tet­suya then went to work for Tony Bil­son, a pi­o­neer in the Syd­ney res­tau­rant scene, and in 1987 he and Bil­son’s head waiter opened their own place. There’s a great story sur­round­ing this, full of drama. It’s my favourite moment in the show.

He opened Tet­suya’s in Rozelle af­ter that, and that’s re­ally where it all started. He’s in Kent St now, in the Syd­ney CBD.

Done well: Tet­suya Wakuda And in Singapore. I know a cou­ple of peo­ple who just went to the one in Singapore. It’s still be­ing built dur­ing the show tonight. Twenty-five chefs right there while you’re eat­ing and four kitchens for 60 cov­ers and four sep­a­rate rooms. Said it was amaz­ing.

Tet­suya seems so nice. Refers to him­self as a cook at one point, for cry­ing out loud. So ob­vi­ously there’s no short­age of peo­ple lin­ing up to say how great he is. In­clud­ing ma­jor chefs He­ston Blu­men­thal and Fer­ran Adria, from elBulli.

I loved Neville Rock­liff, the guy from Pe­tuna seafood, who sup­plies Tet­suya with ocean trout for his beau­ti­ful con­fit dish which, as Neville says, is one of the most pho­tographed dishes in the world. Neville doesn’t look as if he sleeps well. Tet­suya’s Pur­suit of Ex­cel­lence SBS One, 7.30pm

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