PABU Boston Welcomes Master Chef Desmond Chow as Executive Chef

PABU Boston, famed Chefs Ken Tominaga and Michael Mina’s modern take on the traditional Japanese izakaya and a destination celebrated for the highest-quality seafood sourced locally and globally, is delighted to announce Master Chef Desmond Chow (Akihiko Tanabe 田邊昭彥) as executive chef. The recipient of the 2017 World Sushi Cup best performance award and certified with a black belt in sushi technology, Master Chef Chow brings a deep understanding of food, art and technology to his new role.

PABU Boston Appoints Desmond Chow as Executive Chef

“Japanese cuisine is simple, but it is art,” said Chow. “Sushi may be easy to imitate, but the challenge lies in making it perfect. I am excited to share my commitment to the practice through dishes specially prepared for PABU guests.”

Chef Chow’s attention to the subtle nuances and distinguishing characteristics of fish is rightly matched with PABU Boston’s approach to sourcing the finest shellfish and seafood directly from New England’s waterways and fisheries, as well as from Japan’s famed Toyosu Market. Chow comes from a multicultural background — he was born in Hong Kong and has travelled extensively through France, Italy and Japan before settling in the United States. He brings a unique culinary expressionism to PABU Boston, where he will apply his philosophical tenets of “knowledge, study, improvement, integration, and innovation.”

The son of a pastry chef, Chow started working in the kitchen at the age of 19. Employed through an apprenticeship at the beloved Golden Palace Restaurant in Hong Kong, famous for its fine dining and Cantonese cuisine, he rose from cook to cooking line chef within two years, a period during which he trained under Master Chef Wing Chan. With the influence of the science of pastry from his father, and a foundational education in Cantonese cooking, which values simplicity in execution, Chow will continue to champion the unique and seasonal fish served at PABU Boston.

He moved from Hong Kong to the United States in the late ’90s, when protests were being held in opposition to Chinese control of the former British colony. The environment and style of Chinese restaurants in the United States did not resonate with Chow, and he soon sought opportunity abroad. He moved to a small town in Italy bordering France, where he worked as an assistant chef in various fine dining restaurants, bakeries and pastry shops, enhancing his skills and knowledge for nearly two years before returning to the United States. Upon his return, he gained experience as a multicultural leader in the kitchen, training and mentoring large teams at various Chinese and Japanese restaurants in Massachusetts.

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While Chow was most recently employed as sushi chef at the upscale traditional Japanese restaurant Kuro, at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, his first exposure to Japanese cuisine was as executive sous chef at Maxim’s Group in Hong Kong, a company he joined in 1980. When the company — which comprises Chinese, Asian and European restaurants, quick-service restaurants, bakery shops and institutional catering — was considering expansion into Japanese cuisine, he took advantage of the opportunity to travel to Japan to learn the basics of washoku, or traditional Japanese food. Seeking more formal training, he ventured to Los Angeles to learn the fundamentals of Japanese cooking and develop professional sushi chef skills at Sushi Chef Institute. With a certification in sushi proficiency from the World Sushi Skills Institute, Chow participated in the Global Sushi Challenge U.S. Preliminary Competition in 2015, demonstrating superior skill, creativity and knowledge in sushi chef practices and going on to win the best performance award and sushi technology black belt certification in the World Sushi Cup 2017 in Japan.

“Chef Desmond’s wealth of experience, the steady trajectory of his career, and the accolades and awards he has received testify to his character and commitment to his craft,” said PABU Boston owner Ken Tominaga. “Chef also provides training and mentorship as a guest lecturer in Japanese culture and cuisine, which aligns with PABU Boston’s desire to educate guests in the beauty of Japanese ingredients, the source of our fish, the breadth of sake varieties, and the intricacies of Japanese whiskey. We are thrilled to welcome him aboard.”

About PABU Boston

James Beard Award-winning chef, Michael Mina, and renowned chef, Ken Tominaga, brought their lively izakaya and sushi bar concept, PABU Boston at Millennium Tower, to Downtown Boston in 2016. Located on the second floor of Millennium Tower Boston, PABU is one of the city’s most sought-after dining destinations, adding to Downtown Crossing’s revitalization.
PABU presents a contemporary take on Japanese-style dining traditions, using modern technique and presentation to amplify time-honored recipes and market-fresh ingredients. PABU sources the finest of shellfish and seafood directly from New England’s waterways, as well as from Japan’s famed markets. PABU is located at 3 Franklin St, Boston, MA 02110. For more information please visit: