Shota Nakajima
Shota Nakajima

Shota Nakajima is a Japanese-American chef and television personality, best known for competing on the eighteenth season of Top Chef in Portland, Oregon.

Early life and education

Nakajima was born in Japan and raised in Seattle, Washington.[1] At 18, he moved to Osaka to attend the Tsuji Culinary Arts School [ja], one of the most prestigious culinary schools in Japan.[2] There, he apprenticed with chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto.[3]


In 2014, Nakajima opened a catering business, Kappo Kitchen and later Naka, a kaiseki restaurant, in June 2015.[2] In February 2017, Naka Kaiseki was transformed as Adana.[2] In March of 2020, Nakajima opened his restaurant Taku, an Osakan kushikatsu concept, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.[4] While he was forced to close Adana and Taku during the COVID-19 pandemic, he reopened Taku in May of 2021 as a karaage restaurant.[5]

Nakajima has competed on Food Network's Iron Chef Gauntlet.[6]

Nakajima has been a James Beard Award semi-finalist for three years straight.[1] Nakajima is a 2018 Eater Young Guns winner.[3]

Nakajima beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay on Season 16 episode 4 of Beat Bobby Flay. Episode "Sprung a Leek" found the two chefs battling each other with Nakajima's signature dish, Tempura. [7] [8]

Nakajima was one of three finalists on Top Chef Season 18.[9] He was voted Fan Favorite of the show.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Here Are All the Chefs Competing on 'Top Chef' Season 18 in Portland". Food & Wine. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  2. ^ a b c "Shota Nakajima". Chicago Gourmet.
  3. ^ a b Róisín, Fariha (2018-07-19). "Why Shota Nakajima Turned From Fine-Dining to 'Homestyle' Japanese Cooking". Eater. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  4. ^ Guarente, Gabe (2020-03-10). "Star Chef Shota Nakajima's New Restaurant Taku Brings a Taste of Osaka to Capitol Hill". Eater Seattle. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  5. ^ "Shota Nakajima Will Reopen Taku as a House of Fried Chicken". Seattle Met. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  6. ^ Russo, Maria. "The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Shota Nakajima from Iron Chef Gauntlet". Food Network. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  7. ^ ""Beat Bobby Flay" Sprung a Leek (TV Episode 2018) - IMDb".
  8. ^ "Top Chef Finalist Shota Nakajima Dishes on the Competition - Exclusive Interview". 3 September 2021.
  9. ^ Clement, Bethany Jean (July 1, 2021), "Is Seattle's own Shota Nakajima the new 'Top Chef'? We talked to him about Thursday's finale", The Seattle Times
  10. ^ Gualtieri, Jacqueline (July 1, 2021). "Who Won 'Top Chef' Season 18?". Distractify. Retrieved July 2, 2021.