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Chef Joël Robuchon and Japan: a story of love and wasabi

Camembert and champagne: Kazutoshi Narita brought to his own way of paying homage to his mentor Joel Robuchon, on a sink of the kasteelrestaurant that the famous chef in Tokyo founded.

© AFP

The castle that something like Molenslot, stands between the skyscrapers and houses two of the three michelin star restaurants, from Robuchon. The megapool has up to 10 branches (bakeries, shops, cafés …).

‘After the service, gathered the chefs around a plate of camembert and a glass of champagne, it was a moment of peace that I had with him shared’. Tuesday night, I had my sense of tradition to take’, says Narita, a 51-year-old pastry chef who for 10 years worked with the French cook, from New York to Taiwan.

Joël Robuchon, on Monday, at the age of 73 died, discovered in Japan in 1976 following the footsteps of Paul Bocuse, another venerated patriarch of the Japanese gastronomes. In his bags he hid ‘is banned, or unknown products, such as shallots, tarragon, or chives’, announced he in an interview to the website Specialized Atabula in 2015.

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Robuchon spoke often about his first time in Japan. He arrived at the airport, he saw how the employees of the escalators brushing (they are polishing carefully with a cloth) and he thought: ‘I can work here’.

Yosuke Saga, former leelring of Robuchon

“He spoke often about his first time in Japan,” says one of his former pupils, the 41-year-old Yosuke Suga, who now has his own restaurant in Tokyo runs. “He arrived at the airport, he saw how the employees of the escalators brushing (they are polishing carefully with a cloth) and he thought: ‘I can work here’.

Own interpretation

The ‘pope of the chefs’, which in 1978 his first Michelin star won in the Japanese hotel Nikko in Paris, loved the cleanliness, the punctuality, the ‘100%’ perfectionism, according to the expression of Kazutoshi Narita, all values that he and the Japanese found. “Our philosophy is very close to what he was looking for,” says Suga, referring to the ‘work spirit’ that united them. “He was very demanding, and that we found very fun, maybe we are a bit masochistic’, he laughs.

“I think he has the work ethic of the Japanese respected, and many of my colleagues worked under him in France and he became convinced that we are hard-working people are’, confirms Kenichiro Sekiya, head of the Atelier of Joël Robuchon in the busy district of Roppongi.

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I think he has the work ethic of the Japanese respected.

Kenichiro Sekiya, head of Joël Robuchons atelier in Roppongi

He loved the beauty of the Japanese tableware, which he used in French restaurants and of the herbs of the land: ‘wasabi, soy sauce, yuzu and shichimi (blend of seven spices),” says Sekiya. “He had his own interpretation of the products and spices, and then added, for example, wasabi-cream a terrine of foie gras. We, Japanese, would never come up with the idea.’

Sake

He considered the land of the rising sun as the birthplace of “the future of the kitchen’, loved ‘the respect for the seasons, the simplicity of the ingredients and the beauty of the presentation. He was also put on sake, and opened a brewery in Paris with Dassaï, a major producer of this rice-based alcohol.

Also read: Why your French wines by Japanese sake should be replaced

On Twitter brought the French ambassador Laurent Pic to pay tribute to a chef who loved Japan, the country in the world which, according to him the most respect for the intangible values’.

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Now we should think about the future of French cuisine in Japan.

Harumi Osawa, president of the Association for the Promotion of French Gastronomy in Japan

Also Harumi Osawa, president of the Association for the Promotion of French Gastronomy in Japan, banadrukt Robuchons legacy. “We have two big stars lost, now we must think about the future of French cuisine in Japan,” says Osawa, who does not intend to have the ceremony to attend that is organized for Robuchon on 17 August in Poitiers, but him on her way eerde, by praying to the familiealtaar.

The Robuchon-origin will continue to exist thanks to his 30-year-old French-Japanese son, Louis, who is in his hometown of Fukuoka, a wine bar runs.

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