Paris-Tokyo: A Sweet Love Affair:
French pastry chefs and master chocolate makers get busy around Easter, wowing everyone with their special desserts and chocolate sculptures.
What some visitors to France don’t know is that many young Japanese chefs and pastry makers come to Paris to study. Some stay and open shop, mixing their Japanese culture and attention to detail with their culinary skills learned in French pastry classes.
One pastry maker I met is a young lady from Yokohama named Yuka. After studying art in Tokyo, she studied French pastry in Japan and in Paris. Today she creates beautiful made-to-order cakes for her Parisian clients.
Last year she created a birthday cake for me covered with Spring flowers. The details were fantastic: for example, each marzipan flower had tiny dew drops on them. This year I asked Yuka to make me something original for Easter.
She created 4 individual baby chicks the Japanese call “Piyo Piyo” – Japanese for “Chirp Chirp”. Each is handcrafted and has a different expression (see the photo above). The inside is made of chocolate, and the outer covering is marzipan (almond paste).
Bravo to Yuka for blending her Franco-Japanese creativity! You can find her website at les-pastilles.com.
Below is an example of her interpretation of a typical French pastry, the macaron, in the shape of an Easter bunny.
Japanese Pastry Chefs in Paris:
Here are just a few of the Japanese pastry chefs who have opened shop in Paris:
Sadaharu Aoki – his pastries look like jewels and use Japanese ingredients
Mori Yoshida – a specialist in reworking French pastry classics.
Tomo – specialized in “Dorayaki” -very light crepe cakes with cream
All blend the Japanese aesthetic beautifully with classic French cake recipes. Or the reverse: they use Japanese ingredients like matcha, sesame paste or yuzu flavored cream, or red bean paste in classic French pastry shapes.
For example, a sesame-flavored French Eclair!
Japanese Chefs in Paris:
Pastry making is not the only culinary discipline where the Japanese excel in France. Around 12 chefs from Japan have studied classic gastronomic French cooking here and have stayed to open very successful restaurants.
Here are just a few of the chefs and their restaurants:
–Katsuaki Yoshitake at “Abri”
–Kei Kobayashi at “Kei”
-Shinichi Sato at ” Passage 53″
–Hiroki Yoshitake at “Sola”
–Kaori Endo at “Nanashi”
Some Japanese chefs in France have earned Michelin stars:
–Takayuki Nameura at “Montée” in Paris
He says he uses Japanese but also French techniques in his cooking.
–Kazuyuki Tanaka at “Racine” in Rheims
He blends his aesthetic sense with French technicity.
…and there are others outside the capital in Lyon, Nice or Cancale.
Around 12 Japanese chefs have opened top restaurants in France where they blend French recipes and techniques with a Japanese sense of aesthetics. In the last few years, many pastry chefs from Japan have successfully blended their Asian culture with classic French pastry making
They find the technicity of French cuisine challenging and an opportunity to add to their repertoire of techniques acquired in Japan. Both cultures seem to have an attention to detail and technical mastery as common traits.
And now you: Did you realize there were so many Japanese chefs in France? Leave a comment and let me know!