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Shaun Keenan

Executive chef
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

Hometown: Thirroul, Australia

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 18 (as of June 2018)

Shaun Keenan
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I first arrived in Japan to study kaiseki (traditional multicourse cuisine) cooking at the Tsuji Gakuen Cooking & Confectionery College in Osaka. At that time, I was also working part time in a local kappa (counter-style) restaurant to learn more about Japanese food and did a homestay with a Japanese family for three months to immerse myself in Japanese culture and language.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

To have one motto in life is very difficult. As situations change as you mature, so must your way of thinking to adapt to the new experiences that come your way. For me, I think my motto has usually been, “Just do your best and try and have some fun along the way where possible.”

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

Career-wise, I am most proud of having been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented chefs at some of the best restaurants in Australia and Japan. My career as a chef has enabled me to travel and work in many unique situations, including Kyoto where I had the chance to do many catering events at some of Japan’s temples and imperial locations that are national heritage sites.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

My current goal is to develop a great culinary team at Andaz Tokyo. I want to be hands-on with the new evolution of The Tavern - Grill & Lounge, implementing new dishes and introducing a new culinary style for our guests to enjoy. I want our visitors to truly experience Hyatt’s hospitality.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Having lived in Japan on and off for a total of nearly 18 years, I have had my share of experiences both inside and outside the workplace. Especially in the beginning, adapting to life in Japan can be challenging. We are all visitors to this very beautiful and unique country, and if you can be flexible and adapt to the culture, Japan can be a fantastic place to live. Just enjoy, make sure to live in the moment and be happy.

Last updated: Sep 7, 2018