Roppongi Restaurant’s Executive Chef Stephen Window showcases some of the finest Pacific Rim cuisine around, utilizing skills that he has developed over the course of a long culinary journey. Born in England, it was there that he first began his training as a chef. He attended culinary school near his hometown of Manchester, and upon completing his studies he set out to find his niche in the world of food.
He worked in several prestigious kitchens throughout Europe, in hopes of discovering a style that he could call his own, and he reached his goal during the time he spent working at the well known Stanneylands Hotel. While there, he entered England’s “Young Chef of the Year” competition, a grueling test of cooking know-how and technique, and he made it all the way to the Top Five overall. After such an impressive finish, he was approached by Westin Hotels, and he accepted a position as Chef de Cuisine at the upscale seafood restaurant within the Westin Maui.
Working on the island allowed Chef Window access to the freshest seafood a cook could hope to find. He was able to purchase items directly from the fishing boats in the area, and he quickly familiarized himself with new Asian ingredients he had never had the opportunity to work with before. The Westin then began offering him more opportunities to travel during his period of employment, sending him from Maui to Ottawa, Kauai, and eventually Palm Springs, CA. Adaptive and creative, he picked up many new tricks and different ingredients from each region to add to his inventive style, but it was his first stay in Maui that ultimately inspired the Pacific Rim delicacies he currently serves at Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar.
With his acquired knowledge of Asian ingredients and culinary traditions, as well as a background foundation of French technique, Chef Window was chosen to take charge of the kitchen at Tivoli Restaurant inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manila. While working here, he also set aside time to coach the Phillipine National Culinary Team. Under his direction and with his guidance, the team took home 29 medals from the International Culinary Olympics, and although he found the first hand experience with Asian cuisine to be quite worthwhile, he longed to bring his skills back to America. So, he set out once again and began a new position as Chef de Cuisine at Roy’s, established by celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi at The Westin Seattle.
After some time, he finally ended up in sunny Southern California, where he joined forces with the Ladeki Restaurant Group. In 1998, they opened Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar at a location just south of La Jolla shores, on Prospect Street in the heart of Downtown La Jolla. Here, Chef Window has combined both his love of classic culinary traditions and his appreciation for the diverse flavors that the Pacific Ocean has to offer, and he has successfully developed a flourishing restaurant with an innovative menu.
During his tenure, Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar has been named as one of “America’s Top Restaurants” by Zagat surveys, and Chef Window has been awarded several honors himself, such as the Institute of the Americas’ Chef of the Year (2001) as well as the Critics’ Choice for Best Chef of 2003 by San Diego Magazine. He has also been honored as a “Featured Chef” at the James Beard House in Manhatten, NY on two separate occasions, first in 2002 and again in 2004. He is a driving force in the kitchen, and he takes great pride in his work and his accomplishments.