Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa of Narisawa - Biography

Tokyo, Japan

August 2014

While the rest of the world is doing everything it can to express, co-opt, or imitate the order and elegance of Japanese cuisine, Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa is trying to help it evolve by introducing new elements. Japanese cuisine tends to be more insular, enriching itself within its own borders while chefs from around the world travel to learn from it. And while that means Japanese tradition and technique are incredibly strong, Narisawa has always sought something more.

As a young man, in 1988, Narisawa began his training, blazing a Michelin-starred trail through Europe. He worked in Switzerland at Girardet’s, in France under iconic chefs like Paul Bocuse and Joël Robuchon, and then spent a year in Italy, under Chef Ezio Santin at Antica Osteria del Ponte. After nine years of technique polishing and total immersion, Narisawa was ready to return home and imbue all he had learned into a new landscape for Japanese cuisine.

He began with La Napoule, opened in Odawara in 1996. Seven years into its existence, Narisawa moved the restaurant to Tokyo, and it’s now known simply as Narisawa. Embracing both his identity and the identify of Japanese cuisine, the restaurant blends the spirit of nouvelle cuisine and the technical precision Narisawa cultivated in Europe with a rhythmic, integrated sense of the seasons. The result has not only garnered well-deserved international attention (putting Narisawa on San Pellegrino’s “50 Best Restaurants” list and topping its “50 Best Restaurants Asia” list), but it’s done what Narisawa set out to do—push Japanese cuisine into its next evolution.