It takes a remarkable degree of self-confidence for any chef to open their first restaurant at the young age of 26. To do that in the fall of 2020, just as the pandemic was gathering strength in Japan, would seem to defy all logic.

Chef Natsuki Suzuki clearly has no need or inclination to second guess himself. After just 3½ years — and still months away from his 30th birthday — he now runs one of the most highly regarded and hardest to book restaurants in the Shinshu region of central Honshu.

Named after a nickname Suzuki acquired while training in Europe, Naz lies just down the road from the place where he grew up and took his first steps as a chef.