A Korea native and former professional snowboarder who was raised in Aspen, Colorado, Chef Akira Back brings his sense of adventure and boundless creativity into the kitchen at Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge By Chef Akira Back, which opened in the Summer of 2008 at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort & Casino. Back’s menu embodies classic Japanese cuisine, which features innovative dishes that utilize fresh ingredients from the world’s top purveyors. As a result, Chef Back was awarded the title of “Rising Star” by Restaurant Hospitality in October 2008. In 2008, 2010 and 2011 he had the distinct honor of hosting a multi- course dinner at the prestigious James Beard House and recently was awarded Best Chef in Las Vegas in the Las Vegas Weekly publication.Back spent his early years as a professional snowboarder, showing off his talents in extreme movies, and garnered praise by industry magazines like Snowboarder and Transworld. To supplement his income, Akira started cooking in local Aspen restaurants to earn extra cash. He soon realized that the adventure and thrill he experienced on the slopes also existed in the kitchen. After seven years on the professional snowboarding circuit, Akira decided to pursue a full-time culinary career.After graduating from The International Culinary School at The Art Institute in Colorado, Akira began his epicurean adventure in earnest 1993 at Kenichi in Aspen. He was later recruited to expand Kenichi in Austin, Texas followed by Kenichi in Kona, Hawaii.Back’s love of travel and culinary exploration took him to Japan and throughout Europe, where he worked under leading celebrity chefs, including Masaharu Morimoto and Brian Nagao, and learned the value of using rare and exotic ingredients. In 2003, Back returned to Aspen and was hired as the Executive Chef of Nobu Matsuhisa’s namesake restaurant.Chef Back appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s Iron Chef America and battled Iron Chef Bobby Flay. He uniquely is spokesperson for 3rd generation Japanese knife company Suisin knives. Furthermore featured a prime time commercial for The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes during Fall‘08-09 on the Food Network. Also, he can be seen on NBC’s “The Today Show“, Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” as well as Cooking Channel’s “United Tastes of America”, and KBS in Korea, “Success Mentor”.