Chef Yusuke Takada brings international flair to traditional Japanese cuisine
- 2 Michelin Star chef since 2016
- #10 at Asia 50 Best 2020
- Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2020
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Yusuke Takada is the Chef de Cuisine and Owner of 2 Michelin-starred La Cime in Osaka, Japan. From growing up on an island to making it big in the bustling city, Takada has led a fruitful culinary journey thus far.
Growing up on the Japanese Amami Islands, Yusuke Takada was always surrounded by nature and a endless fresh produce. Nature still inspires his cooking 40 years later, along with his openness, curiosity, childhood memories and the food his mother and grandmother cooked for him whilst growing up.
You can begin to understand a little more about Yusuke Takada’s outward-facing philosophy by taking a look at his career. Born on the southern sub-tropical Japanese island of Amami Oshima, he grew up on a TV diet of international-leaning culinary shows. When he hit his mid-teens, Iron Chef aired in Japan and his fascination with French fine dining began.
After he graduated from culinary school and spent a decade working his way up in the kitchens of Tokyo, the opportunity arose for him to travel to France. Without a word of French or English, he made a place for himself in the kitchen at Le Meurice, then helmed by world-renowned chef Yannick Alléno.
“It was wonderful for me, as I learnt new cooking ideas from another country’s style,” says Takada. “I could then decide which cooking ideas to bring back to Japan, and the ones to leave behind. I think it is good to offer customers here this new style of dishes.”
In 2010, Yusuke Takada returned to Osaka to launch La Cime. The name of the restaurant means ‘the peak’ in French and its logo is designed to represent the triangulation of his food, the restaurant and the customers. He gives credit for the restaurant’s design to René Redzepi’s first incarnation of Noma, employing traditional minimalist philosophies in the process.
La Cime is not a typical fine dining Japanese restaurant. Yes, it has the understated styling the world has come to expect from high-end gastronomy in Japan, but the food here comes with a global tang that takes it to another level. Behind its dishes is Yusuke Takada, a man who has devoted his life to understanding flavour and incorporating international elements into Japanese food. At last week’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants virtual ceremony, he collected the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award. La Cime also secured the No.10 spot in the list.
As Yusuke Takada was announced as the winner of the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, he paid homage to the Asian chefs in his community. “When I found out I was the winner of this award, I was so happy. I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “When I cook, I try to leave my sensitivity behind and find the deliciousness in every day. Regarding my peers who voted for me and showing me their utmost respect, I feel very honoured. Thank you very much.”