Satoyama is a Japanese word referring to an area between foothills and villages on the plains, in which small communities are involved in activities such as agriculture and limited husbandry of the surrounding forests. These people treat this environment with great respect and passion, and this, over the centuries, has led them to play a role of fundamental importance in the ecosystem of these places by forging a strong link between man and nature.
It is precisely this noble and romantic concept which has inspired the cuisine of Yoshihiro Narisawa, one of the greatest of contemporary chefs and promotor of the so-called Innovative Satoyama Cuisine.
Born in 1960, Narisawa left Japan at the age of nineteen to undertake a culinary apprenticeship in Europe which gave him the opportunity of working with chefs of the calibre of Paul Bocuse and Joël Robuchon.
In 1996 he was ready to start up on his own: he returned to Japan and opened his first restaurant in the prefecture of Kanagawa. Seven years later he moved to Tokyo’s Minami-Aoyama district and inaugurated Les Créations de Narisawa – subsequently renamed Narisawa.
Dishes served by Narisawa are in complete harmony with the concept of Satoyama, being prepared exclusively with ingredients in season acquired directly from local farmers and fishermen. Since he uses flowers, herbs, leaves and wild vegetables originating in the forests around, waste is kept to a minimum because nothing is gathered unnecessarily.
The menu in this restaurant is in the omakase style, that is the chef chooses the dishes which differ from one day to the next.
The homage Narisawa pays to nature and the traditions of Japanese culture is not limited to the origins and use of his ingredients, but extends also to their appearance. An example of this is one of his most famous creations, the Satoyama Scenery, where ingredients and presentation combine perfectly to recall a suggestive forest landscape.
Following the attention paid to the sustainability of his cuisine and a technique which is both innovative and traditional, Yoshihiro Narisawa has turned himself into one of the greatest pioneers of contemporary cooking, not only in Japan but also across the world.
Narisawa has received many awards and acknowledgements, including two Michelin stars and 22rd place in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2018.
Tokyo, March 2019