The Japanese kitchen has certainly become one of the best and most well-known in the world today. We can thank geniuses like Morimoto, Nobu and Tetsuya among others for bringing the great Japanese kitchen abroad, but how about the other way around?
In Japan it is rare to find a person born in Japan doing anything else than just the Japanese kitchen, but there are exceptions and the best exception of a chef who is not preparing high-end sushi or kaiseki is Yoshihiro Narisawa. His infusion of Japanese elements into classic French cuisine blends into the best possible from two of the best food cultures available.
Narisawa left Japan when he was a late teenager at the age of 19 and worked in some of the best European restaurants, spending time in the kitchens of Joël Robuchon, Fredy Girardet and Paul Bocuse for eight years before he moved back to Japan. He opened his first own restaurant in Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture and named it La Napule, but his most devoted guests came from Tokyo so he decided to move to Tokyo, Aoyama, in November 2003.
His European cuisine training has certainly left its mark on Narisawa’s technical level and resulted in the very best from West and East with dishes revolving around the season’s best. The chef’s philosophy behind his food is distinctly Japanese, but you will constantly be reminded about Narisawa’s European years.
Yoshihiro Narisawa seems to be completely unafraid of how to diversify and reinvent the French cuisine to make something unique, and his strong devotion to locally produced organic ingredients, using every part of a small fish for the guests to eat for instance, is markedly Japanese. Some people might feel that the atmosphere of Narisawa is a bit secluded and too pristine, but will probably forget about that after having dived into the first courses of one of the set menus and been presented to one of the best butters in the world and tasted the bread that is baked right in front of your eyes at your table. The cuisine is focused on sustainable gastronomy and all the ingredients are coming from all over Japan so you can expect nothing but the best. Regulars might wish for more completely new creations to be presented over the years, but Narisawa has a long way left of his culinary journey so there is much more to expect from the humble Japanese from Aichi.
The lasting impression that always will be remembered after a visit to Narisawa is the beautiful way all the dishes are presented on each plate – everything tells a story and we can easily spend time just watching Narisawa’s master pieces and start dreaming. Pure art.
Written by Andy & Joakim