Restaurant: Tojo’s
Category: Japanese
Record: 17 Gold Medals in a row from 1992 to 2013

In each of the years Hidekazu Tojo’s Broadway restaurant won Gold it was not only the best Japanese restaurant in town, but in the country, too—and probably the continent. He was our first culinary superstar and, more so than anyone else, he put Vancouver on the world map for dining. The standard he set was so high (and remains so) that Vancouverites who travel to much larger cities are frequently perplexed to find only one or two high-level Japanese spots, compared to back home, where Tojo’s created an atmosphere of excellence that raised the entire industry. And all while the chef himself has continually exhibited the traits that helped define the tenor of his elegant room: hard work, humility, preternatural focus and never beating his chest about his accomplishments (like when he didn’t lay off a single employee when COVID hit). Tojo-san, you are a generational talent.

Everyone knows that Tojo-san helped put Vancouver on the culinary map, but most people don’t know just how funny and generous he is a person. He is not only a friend to me, but to every chef in the city.—Michel Jacob, Le Crocodile

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