Yoshinori Ishii: the artful chef
- 2 Michelin Star chef
- Japanese chef based in London
- Kyoto influenced cuisine, including Kaiseki
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First of all, Yoshinori Ishii brings over twenty five years of cooking experience to the elegant dishes Umu is famed for. As well as being a highly accomplished chef, he is also a skilled fisherman, potter, and calligrapher. Indeed, Ishii has a rare eye for artful display as well as flavour, incorporating his expertise as not only a chef but also a skilled artist into each dish.
To start, Ishii trained for nine years at the three Michelin-starred restaurant Kyoto Kitcho in Japan. Although he was sous chef, he also took responsibility for cultivating traditional Japanese vegetables and preserving and arranging all the cultural assets owned by the restaurant- from flower arranging to tableware.
Head Chef at the Japanese Embassy for the United Nations in Geneva and New York
Following his time at Kyoto Kitcho, Ishii then became Head Chef at the Japanese Embassy for the United Nations in Geneva and New York. Then, he worked as Omakase Chef at Morimoto restaurant also in New York. During his time there, he received the prestigious ‘Rising Star Chef’ award and was a finalist for the Vilcek prize for culinary arts.
Ishii recognises the synergy between Kaiseki cuisine and craftsmanship and through his passion for pottery has incorporated this artistry at Umu. This passion saw his involvement in the Anagama pottery project between Oxford University and Bizen, one of oldest pottery districts in Japan.
Umu, the mix of traditional & comtemporary Japanese food
Furthermore, Ishii has designed the menus at Umu with both the traditional Japanese restaurant goer and the contemporary Japanese food lover in mind. In 2016 his dedication to his craft was recognised by the Michelin Guide he was awarded two Michelin stars. Indeed, the emphasis is on the provenance of the ingredients, for true Kyoto food is based around the core elements of water, vegetables and fish. Yet, he uses both traditional Japanese produce, as well as locally sourced ingredients to create inventive Kyoto influenced cuisine, including Kaiseki; a Japanese banquet that traditionally accompanied the tea ceremony. Moreover, this year Ishii received the title of Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador by the Japanese government.
Received “Rising Star Chef Award” in September 2008
Gave a series of classes (demonstrations) at French culinary institute in May, June 2009
Received “Vilcek Foundation award” finalist March 2010
Received One Michelin star from 2010
Culinary master 2014 by Robb report U.S.A.
Invited Michelin stared chef event at Vila vita resort in Portugal 2015
Received Two Michelin star for 2016
Ceramic arts, calligraphy (Second dan), flower arrangement,
Tea ceremony, porcelain painting
Fishing – When traveling overseas I am so fanatic about fishing that I will pack my fishingrods in my bags before my kitchen knives