For one of the world's most illustrious chefs, Pierre Gagnaire keeps a remarkably low profile. Unlike many of his media-savvy colleagues, he shuns business suits and the spotlight of stardom, and just lets his food do the talking.

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With a growing stable of restaurants under his name, Pierre Gagnaire tries to spend as much of his time as possible in the kitchen when he visits Tokyo. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTOS

Widely considered the genius chef of his generation, his brilliant, innovative cooking has won him the coveted Michelin three-star accolade twice and the Paris address of his eponymous restaurant on Rue Balzac is an essential stop for any true gourmet visiting that gastronomic capital. Not that we need to travel so far any more: Pierre Gagnaire a Tokyo, his bijou restaurant in the chic Aoyama district has been open for two years, quietly winning rave reviews among local connoisseurs who understand superlative cuisine doesn't have to be formal and stand-offish to be totally memorable.