Tyson Cole, Partner & Chef
Best Chef Southwest, James Beard Foundation 2011
One of the few American sushi masters, James Beard Award-winning Chef and Owner Tyson Cole is a passionate student of the Japanese tradition. Having trained for more than 10 years in Tokyo, New York, and Austin under two different sushi masters, he continues his path of study and experimentation each day at the restaurants in the Hai Hospitality family. Employing classical cooking techniques with a Pacific Rim perspective, Cole marries global ingredients with traditional Japanese flavors, resulting in inspired combinations of flavor, texture, color, technique, and style.
Cole became fascinated with sushi in his early twenties while working at an Austin Japanese restaurant and quickly dedicated himself to learning every aspect of the cuisine. Working his way up from dishwasher to head sushi chef, his dexterity with the knife led him to Austin’s top sushi restaurant Musashino. During an intensive traditional apprenticeship under owner Takehiko Fuse, Cole traveled to Japan to experience the cuisine firsthand while gaining technical skill.
Challenged by Fuse to learn the Japanese language, Cole moved on to train at Bond Street, one of the busiest sushi restaurants in New York City. In his last year at Musashino, Cole ran the restaurant in Fuse’s absence and began experimenting with new flavor ideas, influences, and ingredients. Opening Uchi in 2003 as executive chef and co-owner, Cole quickly garnered national attention, most notably a coveted spot on Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2005 list; a James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Southwest” in 2011; and a James Beard Foundation semifinalist spot for “Outstanding Chef” in 2016 among many other accolades.
Citing the newly easy accessibility of ingredients and flavors from across the globe, Cole continues to push the envelope with every bite, stating, “The cuisine I create is playfully multi-cultural, mixing the Japanese tradition with tastes that inspire me.”
Alex Astranti, Chef de Cuisine
Originally from the small town Pietra de’ Giorgi, located outside of Milan, Astranti credits his Italian mother as his first and most profound culinary inspiration. Astranti moved from Italy to London and began working in various front of house positions and it was there he met his future wife, a Dallas, TX native studying abroad. Moving to Texas in 2007, Astranti received his culinary degree from El Centro College and began working in Fort Worth at acclaimed restaurants Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and Grace. Astranti later honed his culinary skills under celebrated Chef Stephan Pyles and was named Executive Sous Chef at Stampede, eventually ascending the ranks to Executive Chef at Salvaje. Astranti joined the Hai Hospitality team at Uchi Dallas in 2015. From there, he was Sous Chef at Top Knot, where he was instrumental in the 2016 opening and was named Chef de Cuisine of Uchi Dallas in 2017.