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I was born in Hokkaido in Northern Japan, to a fisherman father and a farmer mother. I grew up in a family of 7 children and have always enjoyed cooking. I started my apprenticeship at the age of 15 in a major hotel in Sapporo, and then at the Imperial in Tokyo. At the age of 20, I was sent by the Chef, Mr Murakami, to Geneva to be the chef at the Japanese Embassy.I trained with Frédy Girardet who sent me to Haeberlin, Chapel and Troisgros: there I learnt the basics of French cuisine and was fascinated by the creative genius of my mentors each with his own individual style. On my return to Tokyo, I became chef in a French bistrot, then, in 1985, I opened Hôtel de Mikuni where I have received all the French Ambassadors to Japan.
It is linked to memories from my childhood. My father was a fisherman and the first time he made me taste sea bass the fish was raw, simply accompanied by soy sauce.
Even though the Japanese eat a lot of sea bream, I prefer sea bass. Its flesh is firmer, crispier and its taste is more intense. I mostly prepare it raw or poached, meunière-style or as small fillets.
I always source it from the same fishmonger. Prior to my stay in France I had always savored it raw, so I was very surprised to discover that the French use it in bouillabaisse.