Yoshihiro Narisawa brings nature to the plate via innovative Satoyama cuisine
Chef’s story: Yoshihiro Narisawa left home at 19 and spent eight years cutting his teeth in some of Europe’s most venerated kitchens, including those of Paul Bocuse and Joël Robuchon. In 1996, he returned home to Japan and opened La Napoule in Kanagawa Prefecture. Seven years later, he moved to his current space in Tokyo’s non-touristy district of Minami Aoyama and formed Les Créations de Narisawa. After eight years of service, he renamed the restaurant simply Narisawa.
What’s on the plate: Narisawa defines his food as “innovative Satoyama,” the word “Satoyama” representing a border zone between mountain foothills and flat land where people live sustainably with nature. Narisawa expresses this culture of respecting the earth through an elaborate omakase. Diners fall under the spell of the season, and sample fleeting flavours from provinces around the country. Depending on the season, some might try a broth made from a poisonous snake that resides in the waters near Okinawa, or a warm sashimi course of langoustine from Suruga Bay.
To drink: Narisawa is one of the best places in the world to appreciate the finest of Japanese winemaking, with Pinot Noir from Nagano, Riesling from Iwate and aged Bordeaux-style blends from Yamagata. Of course there’s sake, too.
On the road: In 2017, Narisawa teamed up with celebrated Brazilian food photographer Sergio Coimbra on an exhibit titled Satoyama, which debuted in São Paulo, featuring photos of the chef’s nature-inspired plates. Most recently, the show jumped seas to Los Angeles, where Narisawa and Coimbra’s collective work was on display during the month of May.
Images: Sergio Coimbra