Following time spent in several of Chicago’s award-winning and Michelin-starred kitchens (Frontera Grill, Boka, The Pump Room, Grace), Mari Katsumura showcased a wide range of expertise and passion as the Executive Chef & Pastry Chef for Yūgen. Inspired by both her Japanese heritage and classic French training, Katsumura presents a diverse menu rooted in culture, passion, and unsung flavor while highlighting her fresh, energetic approach to fine dining. “This restaurant, in many ways, is a culmination of my familial upbringing as well as all the kitchens I’ve been privileged to work at,” she says. “It’s exciting to be able to bring my family’s heirloom recipes to life while expressing my vision as a fine dining chef today.”
Captivated by the cooking process as a whole, Katsumura’s cooking style leans heavily on progressive Japanese cuisine founded upon classical French techniques and the use of high-end, artisanal ingredients. “It is a dream to bring contemporary Japanese cuisine to life and to be able to share that with others,” she explains.