Kazuyuki and Yuki Shimamoto, 45 and 40, are the executive chef and head patissier chef at Mimi’s Restaurant and Bar in Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture. The Shimamotos craft unique cuisine featuring the best of the region’s seasonal ingredients, accented with Italian flair — beginning with delectable wood-fired oven pizzas — along with international elements inspired by their global travels.

1. What first piqued your interest in cooking?

Kazuyuki: I’m from Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, which is famous for its Sanda beef. Even as a small child, I loved cooking at home and surprising my family with delicious meals. I went on to study geography as a university student, but found myself framing everything within the context of food.