Sacramento chef nominated for prestigious James Beard Award

Local chef is a James Beard nominee

Local chef is a James Beard nominee


SACRAMENTO—There is a reason why Sacramento is known for being America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.

Yet again, another restaurant is gaining national attention.

Craig Takehara’s love for cooking started humbly.

“I started watching the Food Network and things like that and trying to figure out how to cook,” said Takehara, the co-owner of Binchoyaki.

The cooking shows only sparked his interest. He later enrolled in a prestigious culinary school before working in fine-dining restaurants throughout Southern California.

Seven years ago, he decided to open Binchoyaki in his hometown of Sacramento in Japantown. Binchoyaki roughly translates to “charcoal grill” in English.

He mixes his French techniques with his love for Japanese barbecue to set one’s palate afire.

Now, he is one of 20 chefs representing California for a James Beard Award for best chef. The nominees will be announced in March and the winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony later in June.

He reflected on what has been his favorite title so far.

“My favorite title has been sous chef. I like to be in the kitchen. I like to cook. I like the heat of the line, being able to make all of the food,” he said.

Takehara credits a lot of his success to his partner in life and work – his wife – and their entire team. The modest native believes his nomination showcases what the area’s culinary scene brings to the table.

“There are so many good restaurants, so many good chefs. I think altogether for the entire city of Sacramento, it’s a very good thing to have,” he said.

Shawnte Passmore


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