Kyoto chef says more Europeans getting chance to eat Japanese cuisine

by Hiroshi Tanaka

Kyodo

A Japanese chef at an established restaurant in Kyoto serving traditional cuisine says people in Europe seem to be having more and more opportunities to eat Japanese food.

It is what Yoshihiro Takahashi, a 40-year-old chef at Hyotei, felt when he took part in the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, an event that brought top-class chefs from around the world to the Swiss town in January.

“There were people who asked for refills and visitors’ overall reactions were great,” Takahashi said. “I was concerned that raw fish might not be accepted, but the visitors seemed to enjoy it.”

“I learned firsthand that there are now more and more opportunities for people in Europe to eat Japanese food,” he said.

Since “washoku” (traditional Japanese cuisine) was given intangible cultural heritage status by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization last December, the food seems to be all the rage around the world.

“It would be great if people abroad can appreciate Japanese folk tradition, history and culture by eating washoku,” Takahashi said.

Takahashi is the eldest son of Eiichi Takahashi, the owner-chef of Hyotei, a Michelin three-star restaurant near Nanzen Temple in Kyoto with a history of about 400 years.

“I knew since I was a child that I was destined to become a cook,” he said.