Chef Kevin Chen Cooks Japanese Cuisine at Teppanyaki Kyoto
Kevin Chen (BUS '01), Taiwanese chef and owner of Teppanyaki Kyoto in the Highland Park section of Pittsburgh, jokingly said he likes to eat but he never knew how to cook.
He and his Japanese wife Shiho Jinno (COPA '03), knew there weren't many authentic Japanese restaurants in Pittsburgh. So he decided to go to Kyoto to learn the trade. Chen spent the year of 2009 living in Kyoto, as well as two months in Tokyo, working in kitchens and learning how to cook his favorite dishes that he ate along the way.
The Shadyside couple opened the quaint, 40-seat restaurant in January 2012. They worried that no one would show up, and only set tables for 20 people. However, all of the restaurant's tables filled up quickly and there was a waiting list.
"I didn't think it would be popular. I was afraid when we opened, so we did it slowly. Sometimes I feel like it's unbelievable that that we opened a restaurant. It's what I always wanted to do. And when you see a customer who is happy, it makes you happy," said Chen.
Chen's most requested dishes include takoyaki, a fried dumpling appetizer filled with minced octopus, and his signature Japanese pancake dish okonomiyaki, which includes grilled cabbage. Homemade matcha green tea cheesecake is one of the most popular desserts. If diners are looking for sushi, they won't find it on the menu.
Chen not only received his M.B.A. at Point Park, but he also met his wife in an international orientation meeting. They married in 2005 in the United States and in 2007 in Taiwan. The couple has two daughters, Ayaka Jinno, 6; and Juri Jinno, 2.
Chen worked as an industrial engineer in Taiwan before coming to Point Park to study in the University's English as a Second Language (ESL) program. He later decided to enter the M.B.A. program in the School of Business. "I liked the small classes and the campus life. Point Park helped me with my business. I learned how to set it up and to collect data," said Chen.
Shiho Jinno, who works at the restaurant three days a week, proudly said one of her Conservatory of Performing Arts professors, John Shepard, has been to the restaurant twice. Teppanyaki Kyoto is open 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays for lunch; 5 - 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays for dinner; Fridays and Saturdays 5 - 10:30 p.m. for dinner; and 5 - 9 p.m. Sundays for dinner.
Text by Melissa Williams Schofield
Photo by Martha Rial
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University.