Chiho Kanzaki has been cooking for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Tokyo, she used to watch her father prepare dinner for their family and would climb onto a stool to imitate his movements in the kitchen. Like a lot of little girls enamored of the food world, she imagined herself as a baker or a patissier, but had never dreamed of becoming a chef with her own restaurant in Paris. Years later, she would come to see it as fate: Last spring, she launched the trendy eatery Virtus in the French capital’s 12th arrondissment with her partner, fellow chef Marcelo Martin di Giacomo.

When Kanzaki left Japan for France 14 years ago she didn’t have a job or any connections. Despite speaking little French, she was tenacious and implacable from the start.

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