At just 28 years old last year, chef Yuki Tsukamoto be­came head chef of Beef Yakiniku Din­ing Yakiniquest, a restau­rant at Boat Quay spe­cial­is­ing in pre­mium yakiniku or grilled meat. His pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence as sous chef at Ginza Yakiniku Ho­ru­mon Gyuya Gin­bee, a Yakiniku restau­rant lo­cated in Ginza, Tokyo was val­ued by man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Suguru Ishida. The lat­ter is one of the founders be­hind yakiniquest.com, a web­site pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion and trusted re­views on yakiniku restau­rants in Ja­pan. With his wide net­work of wagyu farm­ers and deep knowl­edge of yakiniku tech­niques, Ishida had opened Beef Yakiniku Din­ing Yakiniquest in Singapore in 2015 to present din­ers with the best yakiniku ex­pe­ri­ence.

Chef Tsukamoto shares that be­ing a young head chef is not that com­mon in Ja­pan be­cause of its deep-rooted se­nior­ity sys­tem. He knows of chefs who have worked for more than 15 years and are still chef de par­ties. But the sit­u­a­tion is chang­ing nowa­days with cus­tomers pay­ing more at­ten­tion to the chef who made the dish, and not just the dish. This can only give more op­por­tu­ni­ties to young chefs like him.

Helm­ing the kitchen, he re­mains grounded and re­gards him­self still per­fect­ing the art of serv­ing the ul­ti­mate wagyu beef. He says, “To be a good wagyu chef, what you need to learn is trim­ming, cut­ting, sea­son­ing, grilling, etc. They may sound easy but each and ev­ery tech­nique is very pro­found. Two to three years are not enough to master them all. I am cur­rently fo­cused on learn­ing the art of grilling.” He is also ex­plor­ing how he can de­rive sub­tle changes in one dish by us­ing dif­fer­ent cuts of wagyu beef, such as in a bouil­lon or beef stock. Beef Yakiniku Din­ing Yakiniquest’s omakase menu fea­tures three grilled meat mains and on its a la carte menu, chef Tsukamoto pre­pares a range of wagyu dishes such as raw wagyu sliced thinly like somen noo­dles, boiled wagyu heart with ponzu, salt-sea­soned tongue and eye of knuckle.

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