A life so rough that it makes people laugh but regardless I am doing what I want to do now.

Yoshiaki Ito

L’Archeste Yoshiaki Ito

Life as a chef that started from a small deliciousness. The place that I thought was a western restaurant was a real French restaurant.

What was the reason that you decided to become a chef?

Mr. Ito:
It is not really a coincidence. I was in a family of my mom, myself, and my younger sister, so on Saturdays when school ended early and my mom was working I sometimes would cook for my sister. When I had opportunities like that, I thought cooking was fun, and I was also simply glad when my sister said, “It is delicious.” When I think of it now, it absolutely was not delicious. And it was quite common in our generation, but I was influenced by the TV program Iron Chef. It was an era where people admired the job title of chef.
The reason I chose the field of French cuisine was also from admiration.
I grew up in Funabashi, Chiba, the countryside, and food at home was pretty much all Japanese food, so I admired foods that I had never seen.
Foods like bread-crumb-fried shrimps at the diners were delicious back then.

And you entered École Culinaire (currently École Tsuji) after graduating high school, right?

Mr. Ito:
Yes, I had a mind that I wanted to join the real field as soon as possible so even though my mother told me she wanted me to go to university, I entered culinary college right after graduating high school. The reason I entered culinary college was that of course I wanted to learn cooking, but also because I thought I could have a wider career path with the connections there. Since the school helped find our work, I thought the school was one of the best ways to get a job.

What kind of restaurant did you train at?

Mr. Ito:
When I was in school, I worked at many restaurants. I worked at sushi places and tonkatsu restaurants. I had even worked at a pizza restaurant, and cooked at an izakaya bar.
After graduating culinary college I was hired by Restaurant Hiramatsu through a referral from the school, and worked at the same company until I went independent.

How were you able to get the job at Restaurant Hiramatsu?

Mr. Ito:
I told my teacher that I wanted to work someplace where I could train hard. Then I was given choices like Restaurant Hiramatsu and Hotel de Mikuni, and I was fortunately hired by Restaurant Hiramatsu, the first place that I went for an interview.
Actually when I heard the name “Hiramatsu” I thought it was a western restaurant. But then I went and discovered it was actually a French restaurant.

L’Archeste Yoshiaki Ito

Given new projects every time I requested resignation, and spending 18 years as a salaried worker chef.

I heard that you worked at Restaurant Hiramatsu for a total of 18 years.

Mr. Ito:
Yes, it was a total of 18 years. I worked at the restaurant in Japan for 6 or 7 years and in France for another 10 or so.

It is such a long career for someone who works for restaurants.
Did you not think about resigning along the way?

Mr. Ito:
There were many times that I thought of quitting. For example, after around three years after I started I said that I wanted to go elsewhere. There were several times like that.
But every time I was offered new projects, it was not like extending and extending but as a result, I was able to spend 18 exciting years at various places and various restaurants among Restaurant Hiramatsu.

It was a part of a project of Restaurant Hiramatsu that I stood in the culinary field in France for the first time. I was chosen as a start-up member when the company was planning to open a restaurant in Île Saint-Louis in Paris in 2002. Back then I had a strong desire to go to France even if I had to quit the company, so it was good timing. So I decided to go to France as an employee of Restaurant Hiramatsu.

And you were inaugurated as head chef of the branch in Paris of Restaurant Hiramatsu.

Mr. Ito:
Of course, not immediately. In 2002 Restaurant Hiramatsu opened in Paris and I served at the lowest position using the training system of the company for a year and a half.

After that the company planned to open a new restaurant in Sapporo (currently L’auberge de L’ll Sapporo), so I went back to Japan and helped with the opening for about a half year.

When the restaurant in Sapporo was settled, I went back to Paris again. The branch in Paris was going to be moved from Île Saint-Louis to the 16th district near the Eiffel Tower, and I was inaugurated as head chef at that time. After that I worked there for ten years.

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