Jason Loucas

Chef Alex Yu is returning to The Star after 18 months at Melbourne Japanese fine diner Yugen.

The sashimi florist has been the omakase chef of the restaurant since it opened in 2022, with the talent selected as a key member of the culinary team after several years working alongside Chase Kojima at Sokyo in Sydney.

Now, the chef is returning to Sokyo – but this time, he will be fronting the new Brisbane location.

“Having worked with the Sokyo team in Sydney, I can’t wait to see what exciting challenges await in Brisbane,” says Yu.

“Yugen has been an incredible chapter in my career, and working with Stephen [Nairn] and the team has been an amazing experience.”

Samuel Chee has been named as Yugen’s new omakase chef, who has been part of the brigade since 2022.

Chee has his own star-studded background, working in the kitchens of Kisume and Nobu before moving to Yugen in 2022.

“Alex has been mentoring Samuel for some time now as he gets ready to flourish in the omakase chef role, and he is an integral part of the Yūgen team,” says Nairn, culinary director of LK Hospitality.

“We’re excited to see him shine and his experience will ensure a seamless transition.” 

Chee is equally excited to step up, and has paid tribute to Yu.

“It has been an absolute privilege to have worked alongside and learned from Alex over the past 18-months,” he says.

“I’m really looking forward to the next phase of my career … and continuing to deliver the same standard of exceptional cuisine and service that Yūgen is renowned for.”

Yugen’s omakase is available for bookings only from Wednesday to Sunday.

Yu’s final service is on 28 April before he makes the move to Brisbane.