HOW YOSHIHIRO NARISAWA Puts Sustainability in Gastronomy

The word ‘sustainability’ was becoming a trend when it was first appeared in 2006. Back then almost every field of life that we know of would like to be sustainable, thus standards to achieve sustainability were created.

The word ‘sustainability’ was becoming a trend when it was first appeared in 2006. Back then almost every field of life that we know of would like to be sustainable, thus standards to achieve sustainability were created.

FAST FORWARD that to a decade after, the word sustainability is actually overused and becomes unsustainable, especially when it is related to politic, economic or even environment.

However, sustainability is not a bad concept when one can really commits to do it and not just using the word as gimmick instead. Award-winning Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa who is also the owner of eponymous restaurant Narisawa (previously known as Les Creation de Narisawa) in Tokyo clearly understand the sustainability concept and actually merge it into his ever changing menu.


We meet Narisawa at Madrid Fusion Manila event, where he is sitting as one of congress speakers. During his presentation, Narisawa wow us with his sustainable gastronomy approach on keeping the cuisine and preservation of natural environment in good balance and connection.

His sakura-themed dessert called ‘sakura and rice’ featuring sakura honey, flower and jelly under fresh sakura leaves is not only beautiful to see but also show high finesse, understanding of taste and knowledge to use what the nature has to offer within the season to his cooking benefit.


When we finally get to talk to him, Narisawa shares with us that sustainable is not only used for ingredients but more on keeping the overall surrounding where the ingredients are originally from.

“For example, it is important to keep a healthy forest because our forest is the one that creates carbon dioxides and the oxygen in the air that we breathe,”  he says.

“The forest will influence the ocean including the animal in it as well. So unless we can maintain a healthy environment in this planet, we will not able to actually have sustainable ingredients.”

As a two-Michelin-Star Chef, Narisawa really choose his ingredients carefully and prefer to look into organic vegetables that has no preservatives or any artificial influence. This philosophy of his to ‘bring nature to a plate’ is not only refreshing but also a great effort to re-established our relationship as human with nature through food.

With his long training in all over Europe from France to Italy in some of most renowned kitchen masters like Joel Robuchon, Fredy Girardet and Paul Bocuse, Narisawa has transformed formed into a chef that understand the essence of European culinary traditions and combine it with Japanese refinement, minimalism as well as high craftsmanship.


Narisawa becomes a chef who is devoted to seasonal products. He is also known to choose daring product such as irabu sea snake from Okinawa, soil and tree bark.

“Every season offers different products to me. At the moment I am looking at the seasonal reptile type because there are a lot of it in the ocean and in this planet. To my opinion, reptile does not exposed to chemical such as antibiotics compare to birds, pigs and other farming animals. So by using reptile, which is still quite untouched even by science; I think it would be better for the future.”

To be in Philippines for the very first time also gave Narisawa a whole new experience as well as perspective on unique local food produce that he has never seen before.

On the special dinner at Gallery Vask, where he collaborated with Chef owner Chele Gonzalez and Chef Virgilio Martinez from the famous restaurant Central in Lima, Peru; Narisawa surprised all of us by serving a dish called ‘baby pork and fruits’ featuring six hours marinated suckling pig from Tarlac city (baked in the oven to get the crispy skin before finishing off on the grill) and served with pickled jackfruit – a fruit that he has only discovered just few hours before the dinner started in a local market.

With such strong commitment to the nature, it is no surprise Narisawa’s restaurant in Aoyama, Tokyo received the inaugural Sustanaible Restaurant Award from Restaurant Magazine last 2013. Still he is a very humble person who actually think that his work is far from perfection.

When asked if he actually cooks at home, he goes for an event bigger smile. “Maybe only once a month. Then again I lives only 5 minutes away from the restaurant.”

Written by FoodieS June 21, 2016.