Top Chef Finalist Shota Nakajima's New Restaurant Is All About Teriyaki

Top Chef Finalist Shota Nakajima's New Restaurant Is All About Teriyaki

Shota Nakajima went on "Top Chef" for a heartwarming reason — he "missed cooking with people." The chef had been working in restaurants for more than a decade and had already appeared on food television; some might remember watching him compete on Food Network's "Iron Chef Gauntlet" or defeat Bobby Flay's tempura dish on "Beat Bobby Flay," per Food & Wine. Before appearing on Season 18 of "Top Chef" last summer, however, he had been spending less time in the kitchen due to pandemic-related restaurant closures. While his Seattle-area Japanese restaurant, Adana, had been forced to close by the time the season aired, it managed to place Nakajima firmly on the culinary map (via Seattle Times). Short-listed as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards three years in a row and included as a Zagat "30 Under 30" chef, Nakajima has earned many accolades.

Though he's currently busy running another eatery called Taku, Nakajima's food TV journey is far from over. Bravo reports that the "Top Chef" finalist will be returning for Season 19 of the show, which takes place in Houston this March, to mentor new contestants. But that's not all: He's opening his third restaurant that same month.