The happiness of discovering a goal toward which I can apply my passion.
Please tell me about your plans for the future.
For the future I am aiming to make this a restaurant that can increase the awareness of Spanish cuisine. Nothing makes me happier than to see people aiming to be Spanish chefs and studying Spanish cuisine like they would Japanese or French cuisine.
Spanish cuisine values the ingredients very much. All the restaurants I have visited drew out the good points of their materials. Also, currently Spanish cuisine is divided into two factions.
One says that food looks better with a sense of art. And the other insists on simple food with no sauce or decorations.
It is not a matter of which is better; both have good points. Both show the appeal of Spanish cuisine, and it is an appeal that has that much depth. It is also an appeal that we can enjoy in various ways.
How would you like people to enjoy Spanish cuisine?
Spain is a peaceful even by European standards; people are nice and it’s a wealthy country.
They have foods that make you feel warmth in your soul, and there is a tradition of enjoying food in groups.
In Spain, even at three-star restaurants, you can show up in casual outfits.
There is no need to put on a jacket like the French do. It is the food that I want them to enjoy, and a casual atmosphere.
On the other hand, there is a sense of entertainment as well. I am willing to take on novel ideas and there are many menu items in which we use a lot of different techniques. You should feel an excitement and joy from the cuisines like this, created by flexible mindsets.
What would you like to try, as a chef, in the future?
I always want to have a definite goal in my job. The goal can be anything. It is such a waste to spend ｍy days without any goal or passion.
Setting a goal makes you realize what you lack and what you should do. People and restaurants grow by solving the problem one by one. On the other hand, If you don’t have a goal, you won’t grow.
I am thinking of developing world-class Spanish cuisine. I do not think my food is inferior to that at three-star restaurants in New York. I am confident that my experience and skills can be accepted by people all over the world.
Could you give a message to young people who want to become a chef?
Being a chef is so much fun. However, there are so many obstacles that you need to overcome until you start enjoying it. Most people cannot overcome these and decide to quit before they feel the joy.
A couple of years after I started my career in food, I did not have any focus and struggled with being a chef. However, when I finally settled on what type of cuisine I would like to pursue, I felt the enthusiasm and a passion for taking risks. Once you become passionate toward your pursuit, you will be unable to stop even if you sometimes feel like you want to quit.
Food has a miracle power that connects people. It creates bonds between producers, customers, and chefs. If you would like to be successful in the culinary world, please appreciate the connection with people just as much as you cherish the opportunity to improve your skills as a chef. I think people who treat and appreciate others can survive in the culinary world.
(Interview: Takashi Ichihara, Writer: Yohei Ueda, Photographer: Takashi Oka)