Yoshi Katsumura, one of the premier chefs in Chicago, famous for his unique Asian-French-fusion fare, has passed away at the age of 65 after a year-and-a-half-long battle with cancer. Chef Katsumura owned Yoshi’s Cafe, a much-lauded Chicago restaurant that has been in business for 33 years.The Chicago Tribune once called him “one of the longest-enduring, under-the-radar chefs in Chicago." Katsumura was named one of America’s Outstanding Chefs by the Grand Master Chefs of America, and was the recipient of high Zagat scores and the AAA diamond award.
Chef Katsumura was classically French-trained in his native home of Japan, and his food reflected the unique French-Asian fusion of his background. In the beginning, Yoshi’s Cafe was a fine-dining restaurant, according to the Chicago Tribune, but in the late ‘90s, chef Katsumura changed the concept to be more affordable and neighborhood-friendly. Customers were bowled over by his pumpkin ravioli and wagyu burger.
Above all, chef Katsumura was known for his kind attitude toward guests, his employees, and his neighbors.
"He was a great man and a great friend,” his friend Stu Zirin told DNAinfo Chicago. “He was one of the most talented people I've met. He was gracious and giving.”