Although not Japanese, Chef Tyson Cole might as well be! A dedicated and enthusiastic fan of Japanese sushi and tradition, he trained for more than 10 years in Tokyo, New York, and Austin, under two different sushi masters. “Ingredients and flavors from all over the world are easily accessible now,” Cole says. “The cuisine I create is playfully multicultural, mixing the Japanese tradition with tastes that inspire me.”
His flagship restaurant, Uchi in Austin, Texas is recognized around the world for unprecedented, multicultural combinations and impeccable technique.
Cole became fascinated with sushi in his early twenties while working at an Austin Japanese restaurant. He dedicated himself to learning every aspect of the cuisine. Demonstrating skill and dexterity with the knife, he quickly worked his way from dishwasher to head sushi chef.
Tyson then moved to Austin’s top sushi restaurant, Musashino, where he completed an intensive traditional apprenticeship under owner Takehiko Fuse. The two spent time in Japan, where Cole experienced the food and gained technical skill. Fuse challenged him to learn the Japanese language, which helped Cole learn more about the cuisine. In his last year at Musashino, Cole began experimenting with new ideas about flavors, influences and ingredients, running the restaurant in Fuse’s absence.
To round out his experience, Chef Cole next honed his skills at Bond Street, one of the busiest and best sushi restaurants in New York City.
In May of 2003, Cole opened Uchi as Executive Chef and co-owner. Cole’s gift of marrying global ingredients and flavors with traditional Japanese flavors quickly garnered him local, as well as national attention. The accolades continued when he was awarded a coveted spot on Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2005 list. In May 2011, Cole received a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest. His cookbook, Uchi the Cookbook was released in 2011.
Unlike many executive chefs, Cole is not just an overseer. He brings great energy to the sushi bar every night, conversing with patrons, intuiting their wishes, and using razor sharp knives at rapid speed to turn out works of edible art.
Simultaneously, Cole directs the other sushi chefs, the bartender, the cooks on the line, and the yakitori grill, as well as collaborating with the chef de cuisine.
Cole opened his second Austin restaurant Uchiko, in July 2010. Uchiko is focused on Japanese farmhouse dining – featuring a warm atmosphere and crafted dishes to round out the overall experience. Uchiko’s menu is a unique selection of composed dishes and sushi, taken from ideas and dishes originally created at Uchi.
Uchiko takes great satisfaction in serving seafood products that are sustainable and responsibly fished – meaning that products are traceable to their place of origin or location of harvest.
The goals of Uchiko are to maintain the highest quality, creativity, and freshness, while striving to maintain a responsible policy towards sustainability for the entire menu.