Japanese fusion is normally a style of cuisine reserved for Japanese-born chefs, but Tyson Cole has made quite a name for himself working in this style. Tyson began his career as a dishwasher at a Japanese restaurant in Austin, TX, and when some of the sushi chefs departed, Tyson got a shot at making sushi. Needless to say, he didn’t squander the opportunity. In 1996, Tyson began his apprenticeship under Takehiko Fuse, the owner and head chef at Musashino Sushi Dokoro in Austin, and not only did he learn the finer points of making sushi, he also learned Japanese.
After moving to New York City, Tyson worked at the sushi restaurant Bond Street, where he further honed his craft. Not forgetting his roots, Tyson returned to Austin in 2003 to open Uchi, his first sushi restaurant. Seven years later, Tyson opened Uchiko (loosely meaning “offspring of Uchi”), and based on the success of his flagship restaurant, Tyson expanded his empire to Houston in 2012 and Dallas in 2015.
Tyson was named Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef” in 2005, one of the “Top 6 Texas Tastemakers” by Saveur in 2009, and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the “Best Chef: Southwest” award in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Finally, in 2011, Tyson took home the award. Tyson also took his talents to the small screen, competing against Masaharu Morimoto on “Iron Chef America” in 2008.
Specialties & Resources
Tyson’s focus is entirely on creating inventive sushi dishes that honor the craft of sushi making while adding his own flair and the local ingredients available to him to the menu. Offerings at Uchi include thinly-sliced flounder sashimi, candied quinoa and olive oil; smoked yellowtail, yucca crisp, marcona almonds, Asian pear and garlic brittle; yellowtail, ponzu, thai chili and orange supreme; bigeye tuna, watermelon and nam pla; ocean trout, cantaloupe and country ham; wagyu beef, ponzu diver scallop and sanbaizu; coconut-marinated young chicken, nuoc mam and jasmine rice; pork belly, radish, citrus, and thai basil; short rib, lemon and onion; seasonal mushroom, koshihikari rice, and Korean chili; oak-grilled escolar, candied citrus, yuzupon and myoga; and fried marinated chicken and seasonal pickle.
At Uchiko, Tyson offers a more daring variation on the Uchi sushi menu. Items include yuzu kosho, nuoc mam and green papaya; atlantic salmon, dinosaur kale, Asian pear and yuzu; sea bass, radish, stone fruit and dill; lion’s head peppers and “uchiracha” (Tyson’s take on Sriracha); brussels sprouts, fish caramel, lemon and chili; fried marinated chicken, cucumber and seasonal pickle; duroc pork belly, allium and fennel; maitake, white ten tsu yu broth and tofu; duck leg confit, pickled fruit, endive and liquid smoke; and Mediterranean sea bass, tomato, mint and chili.