Gods lie in even the smallest elements of nature, we must cherish with our true heart the environment that produces ingredients. Yoshihiro Narisawa
Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa and hisLes Créations de Narisawa restaurant in Tokyo have been crowned the best restaurant in Asia on the inaugural Asia's 50 Best Restaurants List for 2013, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.
The chef was elated as he took to the stage to receive his accolade during a gala event at the Marina Bay Sands centre in Singapore. An event attended by some of the best chefs, restaurant owners and journalists worldwide. Narisawa arrived on stage as the owner and chef of the best restaurant in Asia. Visibly shaking at the announcement the chef was overjoyed, saying he didn't know what to do when his name was called out, "I saw all white and I just can't believe it, it's a feeling of Joy and lots of emotions." His wife who also works at the restaurant added, "It's wonderful, thank you, this is the pay off for so many years of hard work and sacrifices".
Narisawa was chosen for an unfaltering approach to cooking that has seen him push the boundaries of sustainability and gastronomy throughout his career.
Born in 1969 in Aichi, Japan, Narisawa first headed to Europe to pick up his culinary training. Working at Girardet's in Switzerland, Robuchon's in France, Antica Osteria del Ponte in Italy and alongside the legendary Paul Bocuse before returning to Japan to open his own restaurant in Central Tokyo.Les Créations de Narisawa, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, is a restaurant that offers up nouvelle cuisine with a distinct Japanese edge. The food is minimal with each ingredient sourced from sustainable and ethical producers. Every leaf, garnish and ingredient is painstakingly considered for its context within the menu and the ever changing seasons.
Each dish carries a story, a meaning and tradition - with a tasting menu that is built to show off the seasons in all their glory. Careful consideration is given to the core ingredient of every dish which has led to a 10-course tasting menu that is designed to 'express the flow of the changing seasons'.
Menus at Les Créations de Narisawa list just the main ingredients of the dish allowing guests to enjoy the food with an open mind. An openness that's certainly needed with signature dishes such as Soil soup (made with real soil), Hida beef coated in charcoal and - Ash 2009 - Wind of Basque- a dish made of grilled squid that is finished table side with liquid nitrogen ash of paprika.
Earth, Wind, Water and Fire
The natural elements play a key role in the chef's cuisine - a man who understands his fragile place in nature and a man who is dedicated to allowing his guests to fall under nature's alluring spell.
Taking the top spot on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants List firmly places Narisawa at the top of a growing culinary landscape - a part of the world that is bursting with innovation.
The chef and restaurant, which hit The World's 50 Best Restaurants list at number 12 in 2011, had already received a special award as the best in Asia for three years consecutively. Today's announcement is yet another sign that Narisawa is now appreciated worldwide for his thought provoking philosophy towards cuisine.
Now a three-Michelin-star restaurant, Noma has changed, but not necessarily on the plate. According to Kenneth Foong, it's all about the way the team works, which is closer to a tech company than a traditional restaurant. Read our exclusive interview with Noma's head chef.