The intrepid Chen Kenichi, a.k.a. "The Szechuan Sage", is the only extant Iron Chef to have been on the show since the beginning.

Resplendent in his yellow pajamas - er, uniform - Chen mutters and sweats as he takes on challenger after challenger and, usually, wins. When interviewed at the end of the battle by floor reporter Ota Shinichiro, who inevitably asks how it went, Chen usually giggles and complains - "It was hard" or "I didn't have enough time" or some such. He may modestly allow, when confronted directly by the question "Will you win?" that "it would be nice." Well, Chen wins more often than not, dear noder, and when he does, he always looks properly grateful and relieved.

All the Iron Chefs look like this when they win, by the way, except during the notorious New York Battle, after which, upon winning, Iron Chef Japanese Morimoto Masaharu uncharacteristically threw his arms up in a victory salute. But this was in America, where Morimoto also danced, mugged to the crowd, and even smiled. He never does that in Japan.

According to the official Chen Kenichi biography as found on, Chen was born in Tokyo. His father, Chen Kenmin, was a famous Chinese chef acclaimed for his sauces. Chen Kenmin was apparently responsible for introducing Szechwan (Szechuan, Sichuan) cooking to Japan.The Szechuan Sage is considered to be a proper heir to his father, also a sauce king, but an innovator as well. He has refined many of the spicy Szechuan dishes to reflect the Japanese palate and make the dishes more accessible. Chen Sr, for example, created the signature dish "Shrimp in Chili Sauce". After his father's death, Chen engaged in a shrimp battle with his former teacher and his father's former head chef. Each man made a version of Chen Sr's signature dish, the other chef's by the book, Chen's updated. Chen won.

Chen attended Tamagawa University, then began to apprentice at his father's restaurant, Shisen Haten. After his father's death he took over the running of the Shisen Haten group, which has branches in Akasaka (where Kenichi cooks), Ikebukuro, Kisarazu, Hiroshima, and Ogura.

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