Japanese chef Yoshihiro Narisawa is internationally known for his dedication to sustainability and representing the natural environment in his dishes by using indigenous Japanese ingredients.
The close relationship Narisawa has with his own territory is captured in Satoyama, an exhibition currently open to the public at Sao Paulo’s Japan House until 12 November 2017.
The exhibition was born from a collaboration between the Japanese chef and Sergio Coimbra, the Brazilian photographer known for his work with other famous chefs, including Pierre Hermé, Alex Atala and Michel Bras etc.
The exhibit's title, Satoyama, refers to the Japanese population living in cities near forests and oceans (sato in Japanese means "a place where people live", and yama means "mountain").
Satoyama focuses on the dishes created by Narisawa, but also on the ingredients the Japanese chef usually uses in the kitchen of his eponymous restaurant, and on his partnership with local farmers and suppliers.
A trip inside Japan with Narisawa
Yoshihiro Narisawa and Sergio Coimbra worked together on the Satoyama project for over three years. The Brazilian food photographer moved to Japan to meet the chef in his restaurant and they travelled around the country together in search of indigenous ingredients provided by local producers.
"We went to the top of a mountain from where the earth for the famous Soil Soup[one of the most iconic Narisawa's dish] comes. There, on the top of a hill, an elder man removes the thick layer of snow and collects the earth just beneath it, that is then sent to Narisawa for him to use in the restaurant. Without his work, the dish could not be made”, explains Coimbra.
A look inside Satoyama
Other than the exhibition, the work will also be turned into a book, in English, with over 300 pages that will collate the photos, as well as the recipes and behind the scenes shots of their trips.
In the gallery at the top of the page, we have selected some amazing pictures of Narisawa’s incredible dishes on display at the exhibition. The picture of each dish is associated with an inspirational key ingredient image, taken by Coimbra during the journey of discovery across Japan with Narisawa.