“I want to do something different from others,” he said of his journey on the culinary path.
Mr. Hiraishi, have you always had the aspirations of a chef?
I am from Ehime and in high school, I took the advanced course. I felt that “I want to do something different from others” so I joined advance courses designed for third year students which first year students were not really able to take. I found presentations from professors at Tsuji Culinary Institute to be interesting so when I had the chance to speak directly with one of the teachers, I received an invitation, “Come join us.” My parents both worked as civil servants and so I had been cooking for a long time. And then, I decided to become a chef.
It is rare for a first year student to participate in a vocational school orientation. Coming from Ehime, the choice to enter a professional school of cuisine in Osaka was also a bold.
Yes, well, even though I was in the advance course and I was thinking “There must be something interesting I can do.” That is why I went on school tours and looked into so many things. I had decided to go to Tsuji to get a culinary license as a means for getting the restaurant I wanted. To me, it seemed natural but everyone in my family was against it.
Choosing the “most strenuous training” for himself
Why did you choose Japanese food?
At first, I was interested in French cuisine, but I thought it would mean spending 10 years in France so as an only child, it was not possible for me. Since the teacher who gave me the invitation at the school orientation was focused on Japanese cuisine, I chose Japanese food.
Where did you work at after graduating from the vocational school? Was there a gap between what you thought about the working world and the real working place?
I worked at a restaurant in Kitashinchi called “Kagaman” for 16 years and since I got my branched out from there, I do not know anything else. While I was at the vocational school, I had thought of going to a restaurant in Kyoto and said to my vocational school teacher “Please introduce me to the type of place where the training is so intense that if I can train there for 10 years, I would be able to survive anywhere.” My teacher said, “you do not need to be set on Kyoto” and introduced me to Kagaman. And so, I started out there.
As far as a gap , up until my generation, I always heard that bosses had absolute authority, so there wasn’t a big gap.
Plus, my family objected to entering into the culinary world, I wanted to become a chef at a large, well-known restaurant.