Chef Tyson Cole
Tyson Cole, 38, is a passionate student of the Japanese tradition. He has trained for more than 10 years in Tokyo, New York, and Austin, under two different sushi masters. He continues his path of study and experimentation at Uchi, developing unprecedented, multi-cultural combinations using his impeccable knowledge of 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. Cole 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. He later trained at Bond Street, one of the busiest sushi restaurants in New York City. In his last year at Musashino, Cole began experimenting with new ideas about flavors, influences and ingredients, running the restaurant in Fuse’s absence.
Then in May of 2003 Uchi opened with Cole 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 and Uchi became one of the top fine dining restaurants in Austin. The accolades continued when he was awarded a coveted spot on Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2005 list.
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 yaki-tori grill, as well as collaborating with the chef de cuisine.
“Ingredients and flavors from all over the world are easily accessible now,” Cole says. “The cuisine I create is playfully multi-cultural, mixing the Japanese tradition with tastes that inspire me.”
This profile was adapted from Uchi + Uchiko, June 2011.