Tsuta Founder, Yuki Onishi, Dies at Age 43 Due to Acute Heart Failure


Mr Yuki Onishi, founder and head chef of Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta, has died at age 43 of acute heart disease.

He established Tsuta in 2012 as a small nine-seater eatery in Sugamo, Tokyo, and led it to become a global chain after earning the first-ever Michelin star for a ramen eatery in 2016.

In fact, Tsuta opened its very first overseas store in Singapore during the same year. You might have even eaten at their outlets in Jewel Changi Airport, 313@Somerset and Takashimaya before.

From Cheap Dish to Culinary Masterpiece

Before the establishment of Tsuta, ramen had a reputation of being cheap and simple in Japan.

However, Mr Onishi had a different vision for ramen: to elevate it into a culinary masterpiece, through achieving a balance of flavours. He achieved this vision three years after he opened Tsuta, where it was entered into Michelin’s list of “good quality, good value restaurants” in 2015.

In 2016, Tsuta officially earned its first Michelin star, which it will keep winning for four years till 2019. Tsuta also stars in Japan’s Ramen Walker Grand Prix’s hall of fame, and is spreading their influence through in-flight meals for Japan Airlines and cup noodles at their convenience stores.

From Fashion Merchandiser to Ramen Chef

Born in the city of Fujisawa in Japan’s capital Tokyo in 1979, Mr Onishi first started making ramen at 18 after high school graduation. He worked at his father’s ramen shop, called Nanae Aji no Mise Mejiro.

However, he decided to pursue his interests in the fashion industry and worked as a fashion merchandiser. But it seems like all roads led him back to ramen, as he realised through his work travels that he wanted to bring Japan’s umami flavours to the world.

At the age of 28, Mr Onishi returned to his father’s shop, and in 2012, he opened Tsuta. Tsuta has since rapidly expanded, with three outlets in Singapore, two in Bangkok, and an upcoming store in New York.

Tsuta is known for their trademark dish: shoyu ramen, with a chicken and seafood dashi base and infused with black truffle oil.

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Dedicated Life to Ramen Excellence

In a statement, Mr Brian Chua, chief executive of Tsuta Global, said that Mr Onishi dedicated his life to ramen.

“I remember him telling me that his aim was always to create the one and only original taste that differentiates him from the rest.”

The company’s website and social media also paid tribute to Mr Onishi on 23 September, stating that he was a meticulous and talented chef who enhanced the popularity of ramen globally.

The company will strive to continue his legacy.

Mr Onishi’s elder brother, Yoshimi, tweeted his gratitude to everyone who has ever helped his little brother in his lifetime.


He revealed that the funeral was a quiet family affair so as to not stress out their elderly parents. But to those who would like to pay their respects, the best way to do it will be to eat his signature frame at Tsuta.

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Featured Image: Twitter (Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta), Facebook (Tsuta Singapore)