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Yoshihiro  Tabo

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Yoshihiro Tabo

Yoshihiro Tabo was born in Tsruga, Fuki Prefecture, hard by the Sea of Japan. He grew up near the docks, and began his strict six-year training and apprenticeship more than 35 years ago. Receiving his certification and valued knives, he was also granted his license for the preparation of fugu, the legendary poisonous blowfish.

Yoshi emigrated to Canada in 1972 to work at two of Vancouver's original Japanese restaurants, Kaede, and later at the original Koji. In 1986, he opened his first restaurant, Shijo, in Kitsilano Village, which soon became a destination. Ultimately, Yoshi opened his eponymous restaurant Yoshi in 1998, Vancouver's most progressive Japanese dining room of it's time.

"Purity and simplicity," says the soft-spoken Tabo, in summarizing the trifecta of the quality of his fresh fish, the addition of nuanced sauces, or the Kyoto-style technique that can see a 10-kilo block of big eye tuna deconstructed into domino-sized sashimi in minutes. That purity is also seen in Tabo's presentation: "His plates are uncluttered haikus, where the fish and the ocean resonate," one food critic proclaimed.

Resident at the attractive horseshoe-shaped raw bar at Blue Water Cafe since the summer of 2002, regulars and city visitors come to watch Tabo's legendary knife skills and colourful presentations, "full", as another food writer put it, "of both innuendo and inflection."

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