Born in Kumamoto, Japan in 1951, Kazuto left his homeland at the age of twenty-two to pursue his dream of becoming a Chef in the United States. With limited English, yet limitless aspirations, he readily found employment as a teppan chef in a Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles. His desire to broaden his education in different cuisines, however, was insatiable and he was encouraged by his mentor, Hideo Yamashiro, of Shiro in Pasadena, to broaden his horizons.

Accepting a position with the well-known French restaurant Ma Maison, Kazuto found himself under the direct tutelage of an up-and-coming star chef by the name of Wolfgang Puck. This was to be the beginning of a long and very influential relationship. From the outset, it was obvious to Kazuto that the cuisine Puck was creating was something very different and the start of something big.

After a stunning residency on board Wolfgang's adventure into what was then the avant garde, Kazuto felt compelled to fine-tune his foundational cooking skills. Thus, he joined L'Ermitage, to take advantage of an opportunity to work alongside highly regarded French chef Michel Blanchet. This period, more than any other, was where Kazuto honed the classical training and stylings for which he is known and respected.

In 1982, wishing to deepen his experience of the unbridled creativity of Wolfgang Puck, Kazuto returned to the master's kitchen when he accepted a position at Spago. Recognizing Kazuto's now-formidable abilities, and the added sophistications and flair of his Asian culinary background, Puck soon placed him at the helm of the newly opened Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. This marriage of chef and restaurant would last an unprecedented nine years, during which time Kazuto would establish himself as one of Los Angeles' brightest stars on the culinary scene.

Ruth Reichl, then Food Critic for the Los Angeles Times and now Editor of Gourmet Magazine, commented, "Kazuto looks incredibly elegant in the restaurant's open kitchen. Customers love to sit at the counter, watching as he wields his knife with the ease of a sushi chef."

Eventually, as it is with so many of Puck's protégés, it was time for Kazuto to 'leave the nest' and break out on his own. Zenzero was born.

With Zenzero, Kazuto created a lighter style of his now famous California-Asian cuisine. The raves for his culinary feats continued to roll in. Ruth Reichl declared, in the title of her review, that "Kazuto Knows Food." Caroline Bates of Gourmet Magazine exclaimed that "Matsusaka understands the East-West kitchens as well as anyone around." Food and Wine's Colman Andrews added his kudos, "Matsusaka's food, as you would expect, balances deftly on the cutting edge of the Pacific Rim."

As one of the acknowledged pioneers of what is now commonly known as fusion cuisine, Kazuto's reputation grew not only locally-- but internationally. Kazuto soon found himself working in France, with his wife Vicki Fan Matsusaka, as the consulting executive chef for George V Restauration. He was instrumental in opening Parisian hot spot Buddhabar, but also managed to keep his ties strong to his beloved and adopted L.A., helping to open Barfly in Los Angeles.

In rapid-fire sequence, yet another new project materialized in the form of a collaboration with Larry Forgione in New York City. Creating an Asian-influenced menu focusing on American ingredients, Kazuto was honored to work with Larry, the legendary "Godfather of American Cuisine" and enjoyed getting to know one of the world's most exciting culinary cities. Located in the heart of the Theater District, Restaurant Above soon became a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Upon completion of the project, Kazuto discovered that he missed the cool ocean breeze and sunshine of his long-time home of Santa Monica. He returned with wife Vicki to pursue his desire of opening his own restaurant, Beacon, an asian cafe.