Born in Mexico City to Mexican and Japanese parents, Chef Katsuji Tanabe is the Executive Chef and creative force behind A’Verde in Cary, North Carolina. Like many growing up in Mexico City, food played an integral part in Katsuji’s upbringing via his family’s table.
Passionate about hospitality from a young age, Katsuji started his restaurant journey as a dishwasher at a fine-dining catering company. As a Top Chef, NBC Food Fighters, and PBS Cooking Under Fire alum, as well as Chopped champion (just to name a few), additional stops along the way included immigrating to the United States at the age of 18, working as a pastry chef, and graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in California.
Always drawing inspiration from other cultures, Katsuji has used his own heritage, travels, experience, and passions to lead his culinary journey. This includes creating the first-ever Kosher Mexican restaurant in New York City, serving heritage-inspired dishes while living in Chicago, working in the fine-dining scene of Los Angeles, and pursuing self-guided work studies in Japan and fine-dining restaurants across the United States.
Recently relocated to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, Katsuji enjoys the bountiful produce found throughout the region, which helps him carry out his vision for A’Verde, his most personal project to date.
At A’Verde, Katsuji proudly introduces the South to his unique marriage of Mexican cuisine alongside the largest tequila library in the region. Utilizing equal parts traditional and modern flavors and styles, Katsuji presents surprising dishes that lack pretension while delivering authenticity. Beyond the cuisine and equally important to his vision is the restaurant experience, where he injects a celebratory atmosphere in a whimsical, yet comfortable space.
While spearheading A’Verde, which is part of the LM Restaurant family, Katsuji proudly serves as the group’s Culinary Innovator, bringing renewed life and fresh ideas to LM Restaurant’s variety of restaurants throughout the Southeast.