Chef Kei Kobayashi became the first Japanese to receive the maximum three Michelin stars in France. It was a memorable day for Japanese cuisine as Kazuyuki Tanaka and Yasunari Okazaki also picked up two stars for their restaurants in Reims and Paris.
The awards displaces doubts on the acceptance of Japanese cooking, as their chefs have earned their place at the top of French cuisine. “There are lots of Japanese chefs now in France and you have accepted us and given us a place,” said Kobayashi.
Chef Kobayashi’s road to three Michelin stars
Born in Nagano, Kobayashi was first exposed to French cuisine in his hometown and Tokyo. He then moved to France in 1998 working under the legendary chef Gilles Goujon at the Auberge du Vieux Puits on the Swiss border and Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee in Paris.
In 2011, he opened his restaurant, Kei, in the centre of the French capital and has rarely looked back. Kobayashi impressed Parisians with signature dishes such as sea bass cooked on its scales and Scottish smoked salmon with roquette mousse and a tomato vinaigrette with lemon emulsion.
Critics were impressed by the precision of his cooking and the way he elevated simple flavours like gnocchi, truffle, bellota ham and parmesan cheese, into something extraordinary. The Michelin Guide 2020 described him as a “virtuoso of flavours” and his cooking as both “delicate and memorable”.
“It’s very simple. Every dish that Kei turns the rigour of his attention to is called on to become a signature one,” added the famous red guide . However, he wasn’t sold on the idea of his cooking being categorised as either French or Japanese. To Kobayashi, his food is “just the best”.
Source: AFP Relax News.