In embodying Joël Robuchon's adage that "cuisine is art," Chef Ikeda Yoshimasa takes a comprehensive approach to his craft. His attention to detail extends not merely to the choice of ingredients and cooking methods but also to the artful presentation of each dish on the plate. "As Mr. Robuchon himself said, cooking is love," states Ikeda, who exhibits meticulousness in every facet, from knowledge-sharing with other chefs to careful selection of a diverse array of ingredients. He actively liaises with suppliers across Japan to source seasonally appropriate ingredients.
Crafting Seasonal Menus
For Ikeda, the most challenging aspect is defining the concept of each dish. "It's about deciding which ingredient should take centre stage in a particular dish," he explains. The process begins with creating a seasonal tasting menu, developed through collaborative team discussions, followed by the creation of the prefix courses. In both instances, the focus is on maximizing the inherent flavours of the ingredients.
Techniques for Creating Exceptional Cuisine
When asked what particularly matters to him in crafting top-tier cuisine, Ikeda's response was unequivocal. "Primarily, French cuisine forms the backbone of my cooking. I adhere closely to French techniques while honouring the philosophy of Joel Robuchon," he shares. "We also incorporate Japanese ingredients like wasabi, constantly seeking a balance with flavour." In perpetuating Robuchon's legacy of utilising Japanese ingredients, Ikeda speaks passionately, "We believe that fine French cuisine can be created with Japanese ingredients alone. It's not necessary to be bound by luxury ingredients; we can certainly hold our own. This is advice I received from Mr. Robuchon himself during his lifetime."
Passion for LA TABLE de Joël Robuchon
"La Table is a unique establishment in the world. We aim to offer an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere, emphasising an unpretentious affability," Ikeda articulates. Prioritising the inherent flavours of the ingredients, the team continually contemplates what can be done to best serve their patrons. "As individuals engaged in French culture, we aspire to uphold this restaurant to standards that would not shame our French counterparts. We aim to contribute further to the overall elevation of Japanese culinary culture. Our cuisine is not just a meal but a rare experience, and we will continue striving to ensure our guests enjoy their time to the fullest."