Points of View

Top Chefs on Tokyo's Unique and Dynamic Culinary Reputation

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Top Chefs on Tokyo's Unique and Dynamic Culinary Reputation
Photo Jun Seita / Flickr

Capital city Tokyo is an acclaimed food destination with a burgeoning and dynamic food scene. Recently picking up first place in the Good Taste Award Winner 2015, World's Best Food City in New York based magazine Saveur this might come as no surprise in a city with its own dedicated Michelin guide. In the 2015 edition the city boasted no less than 12 three-star restaurants, 53 two-star restaurants and 161 one-star restaurants, exceeding that of culinary heavyweight, Paris.

Not only have Tokyo chefs nailed Japanese haute cuisine they have also successfully embraced international cuisine becoming perfect pastry chefs as well as excelling at French and Italian food. Chef Yasuhiro Sasajima runs the Il Ghiottone restaurant in Kyoto, Japan, where he recreates Italian food using local ingredients from his area in a successful fusion of two cultures. He explains his restaurant concept here:

via Fine Dining Lovers

Ivan Orkin, Chef and owner of Ivan Ramen in Tokyo and New York, surmises that consistency in quality of restaurants across the board and use of good ingredients are key to Tokyo's food scene success regardless of the type of restaurant. He also reflects on French restaurants being 'some of the best in the world, and the Italian ones are sublime.' And don't even get him started on street food.

From the top down whether you are dining in a Michelin starred restaurant, European fare or on Japanese street food Tokyo is a city that sound like it should be on every food lover’s destination list. 

Chris Dwyer caught up with some top international and Japanese chefs to see just what makes Japanese cuisine so exciting. See a collection of quotes below or head to CNN for the full interviews:

"A lifetime isn't long enough to begin to understand the restaurant scene in Tokyo." Thierry Marais, Ritz Carlton Tokyo

"People really appreciate the best produce -- and Japan has it all." Virgilio Martinez, Central, Lima 

"Many chefs, foodies and people in our industry say Tokyo is the world's best food city, but this doesn't mean only Michelin restaurants," says Sato. "It means all categories of food, from street food, fast food, takeaway to fine dining. It truly is a food paradise." Hideaki Sato, Ta Vie, Hong Kong

"Chefs here also frequently have 30 or more years of experience, often specializing in one specific type of cuisine or even one dish. We bring our own specific touches." Kenichi Hashimoto, Ryozanpaku, Kyoto 

"The bar for perfection continues to raise every day for each chef," Yoshiharu Kaji, Felix, Hong Kong

Rene Redzepi is also a fan of Japanese food. This is what happened on his first visit to Tokyo when he sat down to tea with sushi legend Jiro Ono.

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