Chef Kei Kobayashi became the first Japanese chef to win the maximum of three Michelin stars in France.
The 42-year-old, born in Nagano, was the biggest winner on a night when Japanese cooks triumphed in the backyard of French haute cuisine.
Kazuyuki Tanaka won two stars for Racine, his French restaurant in the northeast of the city of Reims, as did Yasunari Okazaki for his Franco-Japanese crossover cuisine at L’Abysee at the Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris.
Kei Kobayashi (center) makes history as the first Japanese chef to win three Michelin stars in France
At the Monday night launch event in Paris for the 2020 Michelin Guide, Kei – a striking figure with bleached blonde hair – said Japanese cooks have earned their place at the top of French cuisine.
“There are a lot of Japanese chefs now in France and you have accepted us and given us a place,” he said, receiving the highest distinction of French cuisine.
– Thank you, France, he said.
Kei admitted that his perfectionism can make him a “difficult person” to work with.
‘I’m pretty tough. I ask a lot of my team, then I ask a lot more, ”he joked.
Pictured is Kei’s signature arty dish – bar aux écailles
He opened his restaurant, Kei, in the center of the French capital, nine years ago, and wowed Paris with iconic dishes like sea bass cooked on its scales and smoked Scottish salmon with arugula mousse and a tomato vinaigrette with lemon emulsion.
Each dish on which Kei pays the rigor of his attention is called to become a signature.
Critics have praised the precision of his cooking and the way he prepared relatively simple dishes like gnocchi, truffle, acorn-fed ham and extraordinary Parmesan.
Michelin described its cuisine as both “delicate and memorable”.
‘It is very simple. Each dish on which Kei gives the rigor of his attention is called to become a signature, ”he added.
“I’m a Japanese chef who cooks French dishes,” Kei said of his 30-seat restaurant, which he runs with his wife, Chikako.
With his sparse gray interior, the chef said he didn’t need to hang pictures on the walls.
“My kitchen provides the necessary touches of color,” he says.
The son of a chef who worked in a Japanese restaurant serving traditional multi-course “kaiseki” cuisine, Kobayashi decided to devote himself to French cuisine after watching a television documentary on the pioneer of new cuisine Alain Chapel, himself. even three Michelin stars.
He moved to France in 1998 after training in French catering in Japan, working with the legendary chef Gilles Goujon at the Auberge du Vieux Puits on the Swiss border and Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée in Paris before going out on his own. .
The restaurant of French chef Paul Bocuse, who died two years ago, has lost one of its Michelin stars after having held three since 1965, a world record.
The Michelin Guide has announced that the restaurant in Collonges-au-Mont-d’or, near the French city of Lyon, has been demoted to two stars.
The restaurant of French chef Paul Bocuse (photo), who died two years ago, has lost one of its Michelin stars after having held three since 1965, a world record
Nicknamed by critics the “pope of French cuisine”, Bocuse died at the age of 91 in January 2018 in Collonges-au-Mont-d’or, his birthplace.
He was a tireless pioneer, the first chef to combine the art of cooking with sound business tactics – marking his cuisine and his image to create an empire of restaurants across the world whose offerings range from haute cuisine to fast food.
The restaurant’s kitchen is now run by a trio of French chefs.
The Bocuse group also has a restaurant at the Epcot center at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, opened in 1982, and several brasseries, cafes and other establishments in the city of Lyon and in Japan.