Kitcho has long been heralded by many as Japan's premier dining establishment. The restaurant is "exclusive, refined, and exotic, almost something dreamed rather than lived," wrote Jonathan Hayes in The New York Times. Indeed, under chef Kunio Tokuoka's watchful eye, it has reached new heights for its superb food, atmosphere, and presentation.
Tokuoka stands at the top of his profession. Yet his approach to cooking is remarkably simple. How can he draw out the best flavors for a hearty stock? How can he cook a fish so that it becomes a transformative experience for even the most jaded diner? Simply by finding the optimum way to prepare and cook each ingredient so as to extract its peak flavor. While his techniques have a dazzling clarity and focus, he works in one of the world's most complex—and rewarding—food traditions.
Kaiseki, Japan's exquisite haute cuisine, has its origins in the sixteenth century as an accompaniment to the tea ceremony. Over time, tea kaiseki evolved into a highly formalized artistic cuisine that celebrated the seasons by using only fresh, natural, local ingredients. Yet, by many standards, the fare, while delicious, remained austere.
When Tokuoka's grandfather opened his first modest restaurant in 1930, he began combining the refined traditions of the tea ceremony with other Japanese classical elements to create a vibrant, contemporary cuisine that ushered the experience from the exclusivity of the teahouses to the restaurants of the nation.
As did his grandfather and father before him, Kunio Tokuoka has maintained the highest standards while expanding the cuisine's reach. "Kitcho: Japan's Ultimate Dining Experience" reveals every facet of kaiseki, covering the intricacies of entertaining, food arrangement, and Japanese aesthetics. Through the brilliant photography of Kenji Miura, the concise commentary of Chef Tokuoka, and the pen of food critic Nobuko Sugimoto, Western food lovers have—for the first time—a chance to step behind the closed doors of this superlative restaurant and share what lures loyal patrons back time and time again.© Japan Today