Chef Tadashi Nagura serves as executive chef at Slurping Turtle Ann Arbor, where he works closely with James Beard winning chef and owner Takashi Yagihashi to run the kitchen of the Japanese comfort food concept and ramen hotspot. At Slurping Turtle, Tadashi serves as an instructor and mentor for fellow chefs in the kitchen, focusing on delivery on authentic dining experience to guests.
“I want to be a resource for my other chefs. It’s important for us to work as a team to bounce ideas off each other and have that sense of comradery. It’s pivotal that I educate my culinary staff on the cuisine of my country and how to present in an approachable and inviting atmosphere for our guests here in Ann Arbor,” explains Chef Naguara.
A self-taught chef from Hammamatsu, Japan, Chef Naguara stumbled into the culinary scene in 1991. He journeyed from Japan with the goal of earning a medical degree from Eastern Michigan University. To earn an income to assist in paying off his college tuition, Naguara took a job in the kitchen at Japanese restaurant, Miki, in Ann Arbor.
Naguara quickly climbed up the culinary ladder, letting his creativity flow while discovering a world that blended the cuisine of his native Japanese culture with American influences and ingredients. While at Miki, Chef Naguara received much acclaim from co-workers and dedicated diners. Adapting the Japanese culinary discipline of continuous improvement day after day, Chef Naguara flourished in the art of sushi making and decided to pursue a profession in Japanese cuisine.
After helming the sushi program at Miki for nearly a decade, Chef Naguara moved to Novi, Michigan in 2000 to work at restaurant Cherry Blossom, where he served as executive sushi chef for six years. While cooking at Cherry Blossom, Chef Naguara met Chef Takashi Yagihashi, who served as executive chef at acclaimed Detroit restaurant, Tribute, at the time.
In April 2014, Naguara rejoined longtime friend and industry colleague, Chef Yagihashi to open the second Slurping Turtle location with elevated takes on Japanese street food, housemade ramen and noodle dishes, as well as items from the bincho grill, and his signature sashimi and sushi. Chef Naguara lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and their dog Pokey and enjoys playing golf in his spare time.