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Hiroyasu Kawate comes from a whole family of chefs and he’s been interested in learning about food from them ever since kindergarten, having taken in information about food for as long as he can remember. As his family made yoshoku (Japanese-influenced Western cuisine), they always wore large chef hats and he says one of the reasons he took up French cooking was so he’d get to wear those tall, cool-looking hats. Kawate saw food as his sole career choice and never considered any other path.
After graduating high school, Hiroyasu Kawate received training at both Ebis Q.E.D.CLUB and Ohara et Cie in 2000 followed by Le Bourguignon in Nishi-azabu, Tokyo in 2002. In 2006, he went to the Michelin-starred Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier before becoming sous chef at Tokyo‘s three Michelin-starred Quintessence in 2007 alongside Chef Shuzo Kishida. In 2009 Kawate opened his own bijou restaurant Florilège (French for “anthology”) in Aoyama where he built up a devoted following among local gourmets, remaining one of Tokyo’s bestkept culinary secrets until Florilège moved to its current premises in the Shibuya district in 2015. The sparse but spacious layout, with a bare metallic counter running three sides of a huge open kitchen, enables guests to see Kawate and his crew preparing dinner, and smell it too. The intimate 22-seater was given the One to Watch Award at Asia‘s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 and in December 2015 received one star in the Michelin Guide to Tokyo 2016. Florilège provides a novel and more sustainable take on the typically lavish French cuisine found in Japan.
Chef patron Kawate bravely and excitingly combines traditional French techniques with Japanese artistry in his own unique way - reducing food waste by creatively utilizing scraps and leftovers whenever possible. Chef-Patron Kawate says.
Japan is the number one wasteful country in the world in terms of food.
"I was half-raised by my grandparents, and they distilled this mentality of not squandering any food into my consciousness. The amount of scraps wasted in a typical Japanese restaurant is unbelievable. So I’ve started to incorporate leftovers into the dishes we serve. For example, we’ll make a vegetable soup using scraps from a previous course. Our foreign customers actually appreciate this very much, but Japanese customers find it more difficult to understand why we’re serving something made from leftovers. Through my work at the restaurant, I hope to help educate people more about conserving what we already have.”
Kawate’s philosophy is to use as much locally-sourced Japanese food as possible to create a new unique style of French cooking. He sets the bar high, “To me, it’s about knowing every single producer I buy from and being able to guarantee the quality and safety of the ingredients. I only work with producers with a natural approach to farming that only grow the amount they can per season. I go with the natural quantity and that’s reflected in my menu.”
Kawate enjoys playing with temperature and texture. The restaurant’s signature dish is a sustainable and colorful beef carpaccio made with a semi-dried meat from Miyazaki cows with a 13-year life span, incorporating beetroot purée, smoked potato purée and a sorbet of red apple. Stand-out dishes include the hazelnut meringue and foie gras; manjū dumplings stuffed with pigeon and simmered in port wine; hetero-oyster: a fried oyster dish served with seaweed, frozen lemon and oyster soup; black fritters of squid: an amazing combination of bamboo shoot, hamaguri clam and delicate pasta flecked with jade-green wakame seaweed; and slow-cooked suckling pig: morsels of tender pork with perfect crackling, served with refreshingly tart green strawberries. Upcoming chef Hiroyasu Kawate will honor the Restaurant Ikarus in October 2019 and bring the modern French cuisine to perfection there in a sustainable way.
Each month at Salzburg’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Ikarus, a different top international chef creates the menu. For this globally unique concept, Hangar-7 executive chef Martin Klein visits the cream of the crop, takes a look behind the scenes of haute cuisine, and is let in on some exciting culinary secrets. “Culinary Heights at Ikarus” offers a unique glimpse into the world of high-end cuisine and provides an interesting portrait of each guest chef, their culinary philosophy, and the food culture of their country.