Rising Star Chef Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata - Biography
2011 Houston Rising Star Chef Manabu Horiuchi may not yet be a familiar name to the nation’s foodie community, but his star is set for a meteoric rise. At chef-driven restaurant Kata Robata, Horiuchi (a.k.a. Hori) commands the highest respect from Houston’s chef community for his classically prepared Japanese fare.
Horiuchi was born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1974, and by the age of 10, he knew he wanted to be a chef. Horiuchi attended the Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan where he excelled, graduating with top honors and receiving a special certification to handle and prepare blowfish. Upon graduation, Horiuchi became executive assistant chef at Tokyo’s Sushi-Ko Honten under Chef Mamoru Sugiyama. In 1999, Hori was bestowed the honor of moving to Houston to serve as the consulate general of Japan’s official executive chef. Horiuchi prepared meals for the family and dignitaries, such as James A. Baker III, Sen. John Glenn, and former NBA player Clyde Drexler. Clearly they spread the word about the arrival of a talented new chef in Houston—it wasn’t long before he was tapped as executive chef for Kubo’s Sushi Bar and Grill.
After piling up a long list of accomplishments with Kubo’s, Horiuchi was again in search of a new challenge, and Azuma Group’s Yun Cheng, a long-time fan, suggested that his new Japanese tapas concept might be a perfect fit. At Kata Robata, Horiuchi says—with a laugh and a look that is anything but a joke—his goal is “to make Kata Robata the best Japanese restaurant in America.”