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The Acclaimed Chef Shota Nakajima Joins the Distinguished Roster of Lexus Culinary Masters

Lexus proudly embraces the esteemed chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Shota Nakajima into its revered team of Lexus Culinary Masters. Nakajima’s new role involves serving as an ambassador to the brand, curating exceptional experiences and amplifying Lexus core values of innovation, omotenashi, and master craftsmanship.

Under the tutelage of Michelin Star-rated Chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto in Osaka, Japan at the age of 18, Chef Nakajima aspired to bring his mentor’s style of hospitality and Japanese cuisine back to his hometown of Seattle, WA. Bringing together his profound expertise with his unique perspective and innovative applications, he realized his dream at the age of 25 with the launch of his restaurant, Adana, in Capital Hill. By early 2020, Nakajima introduced Taku, showcasing karaage, Japanese fried chicken, and later Kobo Pizza in 2022, presenting rectangular pies inspired by Detroit-style pizzas with Japanese influence.

Kevin Higgins, Lexus’ general manager of marketing, remarked, “By expertly capturing the traditional flavors of our Japanese heritage in contemporary dishes, Chef Nakajima is a fantastic addition to the Lexus family. We are thrilled to share his dedication to tradition and culinary innovation with our entire community and eagerly await his future contributions to the Culinary Masters program.”

Chef Nakajima has been recognized with three-time James Beard Award semi-finalist titles, the ‘Young Guns’ award from Eater, and inclusion in Zagat‘s ‘30 Under 30’ chef list, among other accolades. He participated in Season 18 of Bravo’s Top Chef, securing a position as a top three finalist, and has appeared on the Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet, Beat Bobby Flay, and Tournament of Champions.

Expressing his appreciation, Chef Nakajima stated, “I am honored to be recognized alongside a distinguished team of culinary pioneers. I am enthusiastic about deepening my association with the Lexus brand and creating exceptional experiences for its community.”

As a Lexus Culinary Master, Nakajima will collaborate with the brand on promotional initiatives and food and wine gatherings. In September 2023, prior to his official induction to the team, Nakajima represented the brand at the Hamburger Hop event during the esteemed food festival, Chicago Gourmet, and garnered the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards for his delectable Osaka Burger.

Currently, the Lexus Culinary Masters group comprises some of the nation’s most eminent chefs, restaurateurs, and culinary personalities. Nakajima joins James Beard Award-winning chefs Kwame Onwuachi, Michelle Bernstein, Stephanie Izard, Jon Shook, and Vinny Dotolo; Michelin star-awarded chefs Ludo Lefebvre and Carlo Mirarchi; celebrated sommelier Carlton McCoy; and the revered “father of Southern Cuisine” Dean Fearing in this elite circle.

Image Source: Shota Nakajima @ Instagram

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