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Hiroshi Yamaguchi owns the Kobe Kitano Hotel, an urban auberge in Japan’s cosmopolitan, sixth-largest city. His background is impressive, having learned his art under celebrated French chef Bernard Loiseau.
Mr. Yamaguchi created the hotel in 2000, with the aim of promoting an innovative form of Japanese Nouvelle cuisine in a setting that reflected the refinement of France. The venture has been so successful that, in 2015, Yamaguchi took the “Ryori Masters” Bronze Prize, awarded by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture: an award that recognizes chefs who have contributed, at the highest levels, to the success, development, and propagation of Japanese food, and food culture. The chef is meticulous in selecting his ingredients, with some 70% supplied from within a 50km radius. Fugu fish, Yamaguchi’s signature dish, comes from a handful of carefully selected suppliers, and Ayu (bamboo shoots) and Sainchon flowers (Japanese peppers) are also sourced from within the region.