JET Spotlight: Timothy Anderson

26th January 2018

JET Spotlight: Timothy Anderson

Bringing a taste of Japan to the UK

In this JET Spotlight, Jetlag caught up with London-based Japanese chef and cookery book author Timothy Anderson. Read on for his story.


1. What inspired you to join the JET Programme?

I had always wanted to live in Japan since becoming obsessed with Japanese food and pop culture as a teenager and studying Japanese history in college. I’d heard nothing but positive things about JET from advisors and alumni so it was pretty much always something I’d hoped to do.

2. How did you find your experiences as a JET?

It was a fantastic experience. The work wasn’t always very stimulating but I still developed some great relationships with my JTEs and students, and the opportunities to explore Japan (and other parts of Asia) outside of work were incredible.

3. What have you been doing since finishing JET?

I met my wife, who is English, in Japan, and that’s how I wound up in the UK. Since moving here I’ve worked as a travel agent and then in various positions in the beer industry before I won MasterChef in 2011. A lot of cool opportunities came out of that, but my greatest achievements since then have been opening my restaurant, Nanban, and publishing two Japanese cookery books: Nanban, in 2015, and Japaneasy, which came out last month.

4. How do you think your current role can further UK-Japan ties?

I hope that my books and restaurant show people different sides of Japanese cooking. People in the UK nowadays have a basic knowledge of Japanese dishes but there is so much more that I want people to experience – everything from regional specialities to sake and shochu, to the joys of simple Japanese home cooking. For me, the more I learn about Japanese food the more I love it, and I think that’s true of most people; they just need more exposure beyond sushi and katsu curry.

5. What are your professional and personal Japan-related goals?

I would like to continue writing books about Japanese food, specifically showcasing historical and regional recipes. Japanese food is, I think, more complex and diverse than people realise, and there’s some fascinating stuff I’d love to teach people about, such as the dairy production and Ainu cuisine of Hokkaido or the history of Japanese curry. Also, I want people to drink more shochu, because shochu is delicious.


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