Chef Yoshi­hiro Nariwasa, who was awarded the Sus­tain­able Restau­rant Award for Nariwasa, shares his thoughts on why sus­tain­abil­ity is im­por­tant.

F&B World - - Contents - By Cyrene de la Rosa

Chef Yoshi­hiro Nariwasa, who was awarded the Sus­tain­able Restau­rant Award for Nariwasa, shares his thoughts on why sus­tain­abil­ity is im­por­tant.

Chef Yoshi­hiro Nari­sawa, the owner chef of the cur­rent first place in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Nariwasa in Mi­nami-Aoyama, Tokyo, was born in the Chita Penin­sula in Aichi pre­fec­ture, 380 km South of Tokyo. Chef Nariwasa at­trib­uted grow­ing up in a fam­ily that uses the fresh­est milk and eggs de­liv­ered di­rectly from the farms each morn­ing, for his own pen­chant for buy­ing di­rectly from the pro­duc­ers them­selves ver­sus a mar­ket, know­ing the im­por­tance of know­ing the face of the pro­duc­ers as a child. His grand­fa­ther owned a Ja­panese sweet shop while his fa­ther owned a Western sweet shop, so their kitchens nat­u­rally ended up as one of his early play­grounds.

It is be­cause of this early re­la­tion­ship with the pro­duc­ers that Chef Nariwasa has be­come quick to rep­re­sent them in the world of con­ser­va­tion. He be­lieves that it is im­por­tant for the pro­duc­ers to know how im­por­tant they are and how people are en­joy­ing their prod­ucts through his dishes. He be­lieves that it is his mis­sion to sup­port them, be­yond us­ing their prod­ucts, by also vis­it­ing them and in turn go into na­ture and re­lax him­self, which leads to in­spi­ra­tions.

How does Nari­sawa prac­tice sus­tain­abil­ity, and how did the restau­rant ac­com­plish this?

Not only with the sourc­ing of in­gre­di­ents, we also care about the use of de­ter­gents and how we re­cy­cle the garbage. We use nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als

“It’s the chef who can help to pro­tect pro­duce qual­ity,” says Chef Yoshi­hiro Nari­sawa. “A bet­ter and health­ier fu­ture de­pends on more food aware­ness and sup­port­ing small pro­duc­ers.”

for linens, and it is also im­por­tant to know how they will be re­cy­cled.

What do you think is the most im­por­tant qual­i­fi­ca­tion to be con­sid­ered a sus­tain­able restau­rant?

It is to be hon­est in ev­ery­thing.

How does Nari­sawa source out his in­gre­di­ents?

The chef visit all over Ja­pan to look for the real pro­duc­ers and pur­chases di­rectly.

How do you ex­plain the phi­los­o­phy be­hind your cui­sine, and what is it main char­ac­ter­is­tics?

Eat­ing is com­pleted by sac­ri­fic­ing one's life. So it is es­sen­tial to treat it as a re­ward.

Do you have a men­tor (chefs or any­body else) that in­spires you in your cui­sine?

On top of mu­si­cians, art di­rec­tors and var­i­ous cre­ators, I re­ceive many in­spi­ra­tions from those crafts­men who work and cre­ate with their hand. With this rea­son, for me, those who pro­duce the in­gre­di­ents are re­spectable mae­stros.

How do you de­velop your recipes at Nari­sawa? What are your source(s) of in­spi­ra­tion?

Na­ture tells ev­ery­thing to me, what to do. The wind and the smell changes in ev­ery sea­son and an en­counter with new in­gre­di­ents are my in­spi­ra­tion.

Do you think of the aes­thet­ics while cre­at­ing a menu?

Restaurants should not be sim­ply the place where foods are served. It has to be a place where both the restau­rant and guests could have a happy feel­ing at the end, af­ter the guest ex­pe­ri­enced the ul­ti­mate and es­sen­tial din­ing by spend­ing time for eat­ing. That is why our work starts from the big street 20 me­ters away from the restau­rant en­trance.

Is it hard for you to buy (and find) lo­cally?

In Tokyo where I live, it is pos­si­ble to re­ceive any in­gre­di­ents if needed. How­ever, in Ja­pan, the pro­duc­ers are still in the weaker po­si­tion. I al­ways be­lieve that restaurants are the last gate, the last for­ti­fi­ca­tion, for the pro­duc­ers. If we source the right in­gre­di­ents and cre­ate dishes with them and serve them, some­thing will start chang­ing.

What is your goal (am­bi­tions) as chef? Do you think about writ­ing a book, a tele­vi­sion show, oth­ers?

When I see the goal, it is a time for res­ig­na­tion. “Through the ex­pe­ri­ence of 'eat­ing,' I wish for my cre­ations to in­spire people to open their eyes to na­ture. Guests will fall un­der the spell of the power of na­ture. They should not only be eat­ing a meal, they should ab­sorb life it­self…” This is the style of Yoshi­hiro Nari­sawa.

Chef Yoshi­hiro Nari­sawa's restau­rant has been on the list of the World's Best 50 for five years and count­ing.

Chef Nariwasa's sam­ple dish Evolve the For­est, pre­sented dur­ing Asia's 50 Best Restaurants award­ing cer­e­mony

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