Born in Fukuoka, Chef Teppei Yamashita had the ultimate childhood dream of being a baseball coach. But that drastically changed at age 18, when his passion for cooking was ignited during a part time stint at a sushi bar by his mentor in Fukouka. Through his days in the sushi bar, he witnessed how simple food ingredients could transform into mouth-watering meals. His journey started thereafter. Taking his chances, Chef Teppei took the leap to embark on his chef’s life journey. He left school to venture into the food industry in Tokyo, where he mastered culinary skills in different Japanese dining concepts (including kaiseki restaurant, a fugu eatery and then a kappo-style restaurant).
At the age of 25, Chef Teppei made decision to relocate to Singapore under the fine dining restaurant Tenjaku restaurant located then at Millennia Walk. His last position at Tenjaku was Head Chef and Restaurant Director. He persisted in his ambition to make his mark in Singapore, and this time adding a new goal – to be an entrepreneur in Singapore. Against all odds, he set up his own small restaurant within his limited financial means, together with his then-girlfriend (now wife) to take a shot at setting up his own restaurant at the young age of 30.
Chef Teppei started Teppei Restaurant in Tanjong Pagar with the purpose to serve high quality and reasonably priced Japanese food – and more characteristically, with humor. And most of his regulars would agree he had succeeded. Famous for his omakase dining and kaisen don (sashimi rice bowl) in special sauce, Chef Teppei is well-known for his present 6 months long reservation in advance. He expanded his business to open Hanare where his office is located at, and Hana Hana (taking over the unit next to his original restaurant). In 2014, his first casual dining concept eatery, Teppei Syokudo, predominantly selling bentos, dons and croquette, was rolled out in Takashimaya, followed by new outlets at Republic Plaza, Millenia Walk, Five @ GE Centre and Ion. In 2015, Teppei Japanese Restaurant has been voted Best Japanese Restaurant by Hungrygowhere Eat-lections.
In 2015, Teppei has taken another step into aggressive expansion plans, with a new exciting addition to the Teppei family. Teppei Daidokoro made its first landing into Raffles City Shopping Centre this February. Designed as a casual takeaway concept, Teppei fans can now get intensely flavoured charcoal-grilled Japanese yakitori skewers from the Daidoroko menu, in addition to its signature kaisen don, grilled/deep-fried breaded bentos/dons, and Hokkaido croquettes.
“Daidokoro” means “kitchen” in Japanese. Simply putting his intent into words, it is the latest concept to bringing Teppei’s kitchen closer to his customers at wherever they may be – at work or at fun.
Teppei Daidokoro is the latest concept with his local partners to expand further in Singapore and a step towards his grand dream of moving into a management role by his target age of 40 years old.
Meanwhile, Chef Teppei remains humbly preparing and serving his omakase customers daily at Tanjong Pagar but he and his trusty Japanese crew can occasionally be spotted at his new Teppei Daidokoro outlets. That is Chef Teppei’s spirit – serving honest food, with hard work, and not forgetting, humor.