Close Up Chef Chikara Sono

Close Up Chef Chikara Sono

Profile:He is an Executive Chef of Japanese cuisine restaurant "Kyo Ya" which it was past, and the star of Michelin has acquired with popularity that he expressed a season in Japan and provided traditional kaiseki cuisine.


Interview


Q:What made you become a chef; what’s the back story?
A:While I was a Automobile engineering in Sapporo, I started working as a part-time dishwasher at a traditional Japanese restaurant…it all started there. Some years later, I moved to New York.
Q:Do you have any partiality to cooking Japanese food?
A:Yes. The sense of season, the presentation, and of course the tastes are all very important; especially for Kaiseki. I’m always aware and attempt to create seasonal dishes such that our guests can feel the current season in Japan, although we’re in New York.
Q:Do you have any difficulties cooking Japanese food in New York? Do you have to employ any creative techniques?
A:I cannot say that I have no problem…there are quite a lot of ingredients which are not available here. But wherever I am, I am a chef. As long as I am preparing authentic Japanese food with the proper philosophy, I can be creative even if the materials are limited…, so; I’d say “No problem.”
Q:How is the customer’s reaction towards Japanese food?
A:"People who live abroad now-a-days get more information than back in days… don’t they? Same with food culture. We get to try so many varieties of foods besides our local fare…Italian, French, Spanish, you name it. And Japanese cuisine too; people casually try, and accept a variety of Japanese elements as part of their food choices.
After experiencing different genres of Japanese cuisine, customers naturally choose among the variety of Japanese restaurants and support those that offer consistent dedicated cuisine and excellent service."
Q:What do you want your restaurant to be in the future? What kind of challenges do you expect?
A:I will continue doing what I’ve been doing. I’ll keep providing dedicated cuisine and excellent service. I am not thinking anything special or different. But I believe that the result naturally comes by continuing what I’ve been doing.

Q:What are the circumstances to your working abroad?
A:After leaving the job at automobile, I took an open-ended trip to New York with my childhood friend. While in New York I worked at various restaurants; Italian, Japanese and decided on a career in Japanese cuisine.
Q:Are you fastidious, using only traditional ingredients or would you consider unique local ingredients?
A:Seasonal fish, vegetables and fruits; I am sure all the chefs in New York think the same – go to local fish market, get organic vegetables directly from the farm…etc. But at Kyo Ya, we sometimes go even more domestic being creative with some vegetables and dried foods we’ve never seen before from the neighborhood grocery shops.
Q:What do you want to convey through Japanese cuisine?
A:"Rather than conveying through Japanese cuisine to others…I would say I learn more from others. I am often made to realize how fascinating Japanese culture is. I do think that Japanese food culture is created by the history of our predecessors hard work and creativity and because of that, I can be here as a chef today. I am sure that I’ll keep devoted to Japanese food culture every day. "
Q:Why do you think the people in the world are fascinated about Japanese food today?
A:More people are traveling to Japan recently… and even here in New York, there are so many Japanese events that people actually can experience and feel the Japanese culture. Through such opportunities, people start having more interest in Japan and also a fascination about Japanese food that is simple, elegant and beautiful.
Q:Any message to people in the world?
A:"I am a chef. So, I don’t think I can do anything else but cooking. But I want to be a chef who can serve foods that you can feel Japan wherever I am. Sometimes I can come up with great ideas when I think of a menu with limited ingredients instead of complaining of not having enough materials. Let’s enjoy cooking with the joy that it is! I’ll keep enjoying and improving, too."

Profile


He is an Executive Chef of Japanese cuisine restaurant "Kyo Ya" which it was past, and the star of Michelin has acquired with popularity that he expressed a season in Japan and provided traditional kaiseki cuisine.
He was born in Hakkaido, July, 1962


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