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The Ninth

The Ninth

The Chef

Jun Tanaka

As a young chef breaking into the industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were just a handful of restaurants at the top end of the country’s gastronomy. Jun Tanaka spent time working in nearly all of them. After mastering classical French technique under some of the greats, he now owns his own restaurant The Ninth, channelling his incredible skill into small, shareable plates of food in relaxed surroundings. But despite coming from a very food-focused family, he had a few other ideas before he settled on becoming a chef.

‘I was born in New York then lived in Japan until I was seven, when my family moved over to the UK,’ says Jun. ‘I’ve been here ever since. Eating was a massive part of my life and something I absolutely loved, so I was always interested in cooking, but my first career choice was to become a film critic when I was about eight. My parents were always very supportive, so my father asked me to actually write a critique of a film I’d watched. That sort of sucked the joy out of it, so I thought I might become an artist instead. That then morphed into becoming a musician, as I went to Trinity College of Music playing piano and cello in my early teens, but when I got there I realised my talents were nothing compared to some of the other kids! After that I decided on cooking, and that was the one that stuck.’