LA Chef Katsuji Tanabe’s first job

(Originally published December 28, 2014 on

Name: Katsuji Tanabe
Current position: Chef/owner Mexikosher

What was your VERY first restaurant industry job?
KT: Dishwasher at catering company in Mexico City

How did you get this job?
KT: A friend of my mom knew the chef

How old were you?
KT: 15 years old

What did you do?
KT: I suck as a dishwasher and prep

How long did you have this job?
KT: 6 months

Did your responsibilities evolve?
KT: Washed all the dishes from the parties (without hot water. Just powder soap and elbow grease)
The chef didn’t want to spend money on hot water for washing. I was working for free
So why spend more. I also peeled 50lbs of garlic.

What did you take away from this job?
KT: I took away from that job… I hated the chef and I realize that I got involved
in very tough industry and only the strong enough will make it so I became more tough.

If and how did your first job inspire you to pursue a career as a chef?
KT: Inspired me to go and look for a better chef to work under and learn more. And appreciate more the dishwasher position and make sure they have everything to perform their job

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