interview #004

2021.04.19 UP



In 2009, "Passage 53" was opened in Paris. Shinichi Sato, who was the first Japanese to win two stars * 2 in the French Michelin Guide * 1 in 2011, has been awarded two stars for eight consecutive years. However, he left "Passage 53" for a restaurant aiming to open in 2021 and chose a new challenge. This time, Mr. Sato, who is temporarily returning to Japan, will talk about the inheritance of Japan, France and culture from the perspective of cooking.


* 1 Michelin Guide

A restaurant guide published by French tire maker Michelin in 24 countries (as of March 2021) and selling over 1 million copies annually. People all over the world recognize it as a "gourmet bible".

* 2 Two stars

One of the Michelin Guide's evaluations. It means "great food worth visiting even if you take a detour".

Chika: We had dinner with Mr. Sato and Mr. Takada at "THE GASTRONOMY" * 3 held at Hotel New Otani Tokyo the other day. I enjoyed it very much in a world that skillfully combined French ingredients and vessels with Japanese elements including mixologist Nagumo.

I heard that Mr. Sato is currently preparing for the next store, but France has become a big deal because of the new corona. What were you doing during that time?


Sato: When I was looking for a new store investor or property to challenge the three stars in Paris, France was locked down by the new coronavirus and I couldn't do anything. So, when I returned to Japan once in the spring of last year and returned to France in the summer with a property contract, France locked down again. I returned to Japan again and have been in Japan for a while.

However, I got a job in Japan at the right time. By returning to Japan, I had time to look at various Japanese ingredients and find a vessel to use for the next store, so I think it's time for a chance.


* 3 The 11th Japanese chef fair "THE GASTRONOMY" that is active in the world Shinichi Sato x Yusuke Takada

Hotel New Otani Tokyo 202 1/2 / 26-2 / 28


Boudin dog from "THE GASTRONOMY" | Rape blossoms | Kujo green onions | Squid

Chika: It was hard. However, it seems that you are energetically going to see the ingredients and vessels while you have to stay in Japan for a long time. Did you make any new discoveries?


Sato: I used to think that cooking dishes cultivated in France would not be possible without European ingredients. French is the combination of strong individuality and individuality to add deliciousness, so the taste of the ingredients is hidden by the delicate ingredients of Japan. For example, Japanese fish are delicate, so sashimi, dried fish, and charcoal-grilled fish are very delicious. However, when the sauce is applied, the goodness of the fish itself does not come to life. I made a prototype with powerful fish such as puffer fish and blowfish, but I couldn't quite reach the point where I was satisfied. There was a time when I was wondering what it meant to make French food using Japanese ingredients. So anyway, I decided to eat while traveling all over Japan.

Chika: It 's a problem unique to Mr. Sato, who has been competing against French people for many years in Paris. Did you have a good encounter?


Sato: Yes. I had a great encounter with a chef who grows the ingredients used for cooking by himself. He knows all about the individuality of the vegetables he makes, so he can make wonderful Japanese ingredients. I was keenly aware that the idea that "it cannot be delicious without using French ingredients" is my own lack of ability. Until now, I was trying to get closer to the dishes I made in France, but I realized that it was not possible because I did so, and it was important to think that it was important to think of "making delicious food using local ingredients." It is. Since then, when I cook, I first look closely at the ingredients there and try to make them delicious.


"THE GASTRONOMY" than white mill shellfish | bamboo shoots (left), icefish | Seri (center), suckling calf | Sakura (right)

Chika: That was a big change! By the way, did you have any ingredients or vessels such as "This may be used in France?"

Sato: I've always thought that abalone and Japanese beef are overwhelmingly delicious. There are many others, but most of them are difficult to obtain locally, so it is difficult to use them in France. This is also difficult in terms of transportation, but the umezu sold by my friend Nami Iijima * 4 is wonderful. I am very grateful for the existence of someone like Mr. Iijima who introduces good ingredients. Also, when I visited a restaurant in Kanazawa, I found a good dish. When I contacted him about the artist, I found out that the vessel is only available in Kanazawa. It's so wonderful, it's a waste. I think there are still more such things.

Chika: That's right. People who make good things, whether they are ingredients or crafts, are not always good at public relations and sales. There are limits to how much you can travel around Japan on your own, so it would be nice to find someone who can curate you.

Sato: That's right. I want to design things related to the store properly. Not only the ingredients, but also sake, vessels, interior decoration, music, staff uniforms, temperature and humidity inside the store, fragrance, etc. are all that can be done. Among them, I would like to convey the good things about Japan. For example, we ask Japanese people to design the main dining, and we select and use Japanese materials such as cypress. I would like to start a new job with professionals from other fields with the passion of "Let's make wonderful things together and get the evaluation of the world."


From "THE GASTRONOMY" Pintail | Burdock

Chika: A French restaurant is a place to eat and entertainment, isn't it? At the new store prepared in Paris, I would like you to realize the experience design * 7 unique to Mr. Sato. For example, it would be easier to understand if you compare tourism in Japan with tourism overseas. There is a good explanation in Japan, but overseas, I'm free to give you a minimum explanation and enjoy the rest freely. And that is an experience that is more satisfying overseas.

Sato: That's right! After guiding you to the table, I want to design a wonderful space that can be left to the sensibilities of the customers. However, the first thing is to pursue "delicious". After returning to Japan temporarily, I am receiving a great deal of inspiration from Japanese craftsmen. I think it's amazing to do one thing very well and work in millimeters. I also want to be a craftsman in the culinary way and surprise people with their deliciousness.


* 4 Nami Iijima Japanese food stylist. Widely used in various fields related to food such as movies, TV dramas, commercials, advertisements, magazines, and food stalls. Representative of 7days kitchen.

* 5 Sato Oki

* 6 Suitou Nakatsuka

* 7 Experience design The act of designing the process by which users use products and services, and the events in which they feel value.

Chika: You are one of the few chefs recognized locally, but hasn't there been a lot of change in your view of Japanese chefs in France?


Sato: I think Japanese people are reliable in France. But I think it hasn't been recognized in the true sense yet. For example, in the world of cooking, it is often said by French people that Japanese people have high abilities, but in fact, there is only one Japanese person who has a three-star rating in France * 8 . It is a proof that it has not been recognized as a French dish. I would like to continue to take on the challenge of being evaluated as a French dish, rather than being evaluated as a Japanese dish by using new Japanese ingredients on a large scale. How should we express Japan in France based on the ingredients in France? During my long stay in Japan, I met a lot of people and things that I thought "Japan is amazing", and I'm looking for the right elements for a new store.

* 8 In 2020, Kei Kobayashi's "Restaurant Kei" won three stars.


From "THE GASTRONOMY" Cacao | Haskap (left), Amami brown sugar | Rum raisins (right)

Kinka: How about inheriting traditions in the culinary world? For example, in Noh and traditional crafts, it often happens that the technique disappears when this person disappears.


Sato: The world of cooks is somewhat similar, isn't it? The world of cooks is economically difficult, and the reality is that the number of students at cooking schools is declining. However, even if I don't cook old dishes myself, I sometimes learn old cooking methods and create new dishes based on them. For example, in this era, if you set the temperature of the machine and make a snap, the lamb will be baked. But if you don't know the process, you won't notice the original contrast of the lamb. What if you can't use electricity? Therefore, I ask the staff to touch the lamb to check the process from the raw state to the baking. In addition, while actually handling the hare with hair, I tell them that they will be on the market in that season because they are caught every winter. The skills and knowledge that form the basis of French cuisine are very important, and it is difficult to acquire them without someone teaching them. I grew up by having someone teach me. I would like to convey such traditional things, not just having them work at a restaurant.


With the kitchen members of "THE GASTRONOMY"

Chika: That's wonderful. Where does the desire to convey the bass you just mentioned come from?


Sato: I think that I can get the stars * 9 thanks to various people, including the people who passed on the technology to me and the investors. I think we have to give back to the next generation. For example, have young staff sprinkle or serve sauce. If you do a non-chore job when you are young, you might think, "Oh, cooking is fun!" In order to continue cooking, it is important to have an original experience that makes cooking fun. When cooking in large numbers in a large area like Hotel New Otani Tokyo, we are working to make as many young people as possible feel the joy of cooking in terms of passing it on to the next generation.


Chika: It 's hard to get a chance to have a Michelin star chef teach you the important part of the production, so everyone would be very excited! It is clear that Mr. Sato's experience design is aimed not only at customers who eat food, but also at the staff of the restaurant. I'm really looking forward to visiting a new store in Paris. Thank you for your precious time during your stay in Japan today.


* 9 Starred by the Michelin Guide.


Shinichi Sato (Profile)

Born in Hokkaido in 1977. Cook. After training in Hokkaido, he went to France in 2000. In 2009, he opened the restaurant "Passage 53" in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, and in 2011 he was the first Japanese to receive a two-star rating from the French Michelin Guide. Since then, he has been awarded two stars for eight consecutive years. Due to a new challenge, "Passage 53" will be closed in 2019. Currently, preparations are underway for a restaurant scheduled to open in the 16th arrondissement of Paris in 2021.