Kawate is clear in his goals and bold in his approach, especially in the early focus on sustainability before the market took it as a trend. His signature 'sustainability beef' carpaccio is taken from the meat of mature, 13-year-old breeding cows from Takasaki, which was an avant-garde dish at the time. Now Kawate's pursuit of sustainability is even more evident. Not the first of its kind in Japan, Florilège is an intimate experience set around a counter where the chefs cook everything right in front of the guest, with full attention to detail to provide top-notch hospitality. The space is far more spacious than it looks in the photos. It is a theatrical ringside setting where the chef is the star of the show.
I believe chefs would cast a knowing smile seeing the film. But there is certainly more to peel back. Food critics may want to become more aware of the importance of their jobs and stop being pretentious. The Menu is a seemingly absurd satire, but the themes it tries to explore are very realistic. Generally, it is a dark comedy, but the thriller elements far outweigh the entertainment. Perhaps with more dark humour, it might have been more like a completed dish.
Kawada says, Japanese cuisine is about water and Chinese cuisine is about fire. The combination of the two is perfectly interpreted at Sazenka, where Chinese cuisine and kaiseki cuisine meet. He reinterprets Chinese flavours with sublime colours and impeccable aromas, imbued with warm hospitality and authenticity.
Having studied Politics of developing countries at Keio University - one of the top private universities in Japan - Chef Namae came to the culinary world with critical thinking and a philosophical mind. Apart from playing rock music and wanting to become a journalist, he worked in Hokkaido, South France and The Fat Duck in the UK before finally opening his own restaurant which was destined to be special.
London's many foreign hospitality workers had to leave the UK as the restaurant industry faced intermittent shut-down policy during the initial phase of the pandemic. What's more, many were unable to return to the UK due to visa issues caused by Brexit. As a result, restaurants are generally experiencing a shortage of staff.
Natsuko Shoji is only 33 years old. She started training as a pastry chef at Michelin-starred Le Jeu de l’Assiette in Daikanyama before working at the two-Michelin-starred Florilège for three years when she became its sous chef and decided to start her own business in 2014. Her mango cakes were an instant success and soon she opened her private table restaurant, initially catering up to four people before expanding to cater six by the end of 2019. I first met her in Hong Kong when I tasted her mango cake. She has mentioned in the press that many of her creative inspirations come from art and fashion brands, and she has indeed developed her own brand, or is at least a trendsetter, in the culinary scene.
Taiwanese cuisine was prevalently characterised by exquisiteness around the 1930s, if you consider the many refined restaurants of the Beitou hot springs region during the Japanese rule. Admittedly, Taiwanese cuisine today is typically associated with street food and home-style cooking, and many finely crafted recipes didn’t get a chance to be passed on. To recapture the gorgeous Taiwanese cuisine of the 1930s, the Yong Feng Yu Group, investor of organic produce restaurants including Green & Safe in Shanghai, has found Mountain and Sea House as well as Master Cai Ruilang, a traditional Taiwanese cuisine inheritor who has been in the business for 30 years and once studied under Master Huang Dexing of Peng Lai Ge Restaurant, one of the four major restaurants in Taiwan during the Japanese rule. The group also sought advice from local cuisine expert Huang Wanling on a few classic Taiwanese dishes in Tainan.
In recent years, at-home dinner parties have become less popular in Asia, which may be due to the fact that urban households are getting smaller and smaller, and people tend to dine out more and more often. I have always liked to entertain guests at home, but since I took “being a gourmet” as a my career , my life and work are inseparable from food. In addition, I have a higher standard for home banquets and an obsessive-compulsive personality andall that makes me not feel like entertaining guests at will. My emotions were all brought back by the at-home dinner party held by the owner of Fika Fika Cafe in Taipei, James in mid-October. I received the invitation a month before the banquet, and I was told about the location only few days before. I called the host after arriving at an inconspicuous factory in Nangang, then the iron rolling door slowly opened, and the host's figure slowly emerged. There is some mysterious fun in the whole thing.
Kuni San’s appetite for cooking increased after he watched a Japanese cooking show when he was young and he has since enjoyed cooking for his family. He spent eight years in Italy throughout his 20 years of culinary experience. I met him five years ago when I was dining at Condividere in Torino, where he was the Sous Chef of Ristorante Tokuyoshi, a Michelin one-starred restaurant. He also worked at Trattoria da Amerigo, a traditional one-star restaurant near Bologna, which I really like. As you can tell, Chef Kuni has been trained in both traditional and modern Italian cuisine.
Cantonese cuisine emphasizes techniques and there is no standard procedure. It usually takes years of hard work for a chef majoring Cantonese cuisine to master the essence of it. Chef Max Wo, a celebrated graduate from the famous fine dining spot Lei Garden in Hong Kong with over thirty years of culinary experience, has welcomed renowned chefs both from Taiwan and from other countries at Silks House in Taipei since he took the helm from 2019. It has not picked up a Michelin star yet but it is my No. 1 Cantonese cuisine restaurant in Taipei.