About Daisuke Utagawa




A self proclaimed “Greedy Eater.” Daisuke Utagawa coined the phrase ‘Cuisine of Subtraction’ describing Japanese cuisine to the US culinary world in 1988. He believes this subtraction method allows chefs to reveal the essence of each ingredient in its most honest yet refined state. Such method he believes can be seen in many Japanese art forms, not limited to cooking.


Born and bred in Tokyo, Utagawa took over Sushi-ko, Washington DC’s first Sushi restaurant and still considered one of the best Japanese restaurants in North America. It was here he suggested the pairing of red burgundy wines with Japanese food- a novel idea at the time and now considered a norm. To prove his point, he traveled to Burgundy France with his culinary staff, invited notable Burgundian wine makers to bring their own wines to an exploratory lunch and asked them to be the judge of his ideas about Japanese food and Burgundy red wine pairings. After a resounding success, he has been asked to return to burgundy to hold annual lunch event. For this, the acclaimed food magazine, Saveur, named him one of the best 100 idea-makers to watch for in the world of food.


Not satisfied with the success of the restaurant and its business, Utagawa started travelling extensively in the 1990’s to learn and incorporate other techniques and ingredients to the Japanese philosophy of cooking. This led to extended periods of stay in Europe, both in France and Italy. Before long, he became a Contributing Editor for National Geographic Traveler and was doing food programs with Rudy Maxa, one of America’s best-known travel writers and broadcasters and award-winning contributing editors to National Geographic Traveler. Utagawa’s black book of eateries after decades of exploring would be the prize for any epicurean.


After a stint in the Middle East, Utagawa is now back in his adopted hometown of Washington DC and ready to introduce the joys of his food discoveries around the world and his mind-blowing ideas in food to a new audience.