While Chef Seita Nakahara hails from Tokyo in Japan, his heart is firmly set in Singapore. After all, this is the place where his passion for Italian food began almost 20 years ago. Today, as Chef-Owner of Terra, he is forging ahead to introduce a new culture of Tokyo-Italian dining to Singapore’s dynamic food landscape, with the aim of pioneering the way for new gastronomic standards through his unique blend of Japanese influence and local nuances.
Chef Seita’s foray into cooking began with experimenting on eggs at only five years old but as far as he is concerned, his culinary journey began here in Singapore, where he vowed to one day open a restaurant. After graduating from school, he worked a few years in Tokyo’s traditional Italian restaurants before training his way through the kitchens of Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont over four years to learn the intricacies and techniques of Italian cuisine. He returned to Singapore in 2010 to work as Executive Chef in Enoteca L’Operetta. A notable achievement that cemented his rightful place as an Italian chef was as a top five finalist in Japan’s largest cooking competition RED-U35 held in 2013, in which 500 Japanese chefs from all over the world participated and he was the only finalist to present Italian cuisine.
As he takes the helm of new restaurant Terra, he explains his vision and philosophy: “Terra is all about my connection with nature; an energy that runs through the land, animals, food and man. This is the same connection I have with Singapore and why I want to share my passion and love, as well as a real taste of the Tokyo-Italian dining experience.”
Highlighting Terra’s menu will be Chef Seita’s Omakase, a degustation menu of his own creations based on the availability of seasonal ingredients, further epitomizing his philosophy through the perfect balance and harmony of fresh ingredients and flavours, paired with Italian wines of his recommendation. Diners will also have the opportunity to sample some of his own personal favourites, including his home-made Bottarga, cured in-house, using only fresh mullet roe, prized for its refined ocean-salty flavour; and Acqua Pazza (literally translated to Crazy Water), an Italian seafood soup with poached fish and other treasures of the sea that he claims is crazy good. Chef Seita also makes the restaurant’s fresh pasta daily based on techniques learned from Italian chefs in Italy.