Shinichiro Takagi is owner and head chef at Zeniya, located in Kanazawa on the Western Coast of Japan, an area famous for its sake breweries.Takagi uses fresh, local ingredients to prepare mouthwatering meals based on Japanese Kaiseki cuisine and pairs his dishes with the finest local sake.
What is your advice for young chefs?
Never lose sight of your goal. Work as much as you can and have as much fun doing it as you can.Take advantage of every moment to be aware and enjoy what you are doing and you will have a full life with no regrets about wasted time.To be a chef you must develop some essential skills. You must build a sensitive palate, good aesthetics with color and shape…but I think the most important thing is to have the perseverance to stick it out. A successful chef will endure the little failures, the long hours, difficult situations, to keep working, keep pouring your passion into the food. This dedication will pay off in the end.
What is your goal for the restaurant now?
I want people who love food to visit our restaurant and enjoy my cooking and I want to make dishes for my customers that they can’t get anywhere else in the world. I want to keep changing and improving the menu and keep producing food the customers can appreciate with all five senses.
What is the most important aspect of cooking to you?
Chefs are professionals who put food they have touched into people’s bodies. In that way, we have a lot of responsibility to customers who trust us, kind of like doctors! Safety is certainly first and foremost in importance, as well as serving a nutritious, balanced meal, but the most important thing we’re trying to do here is to serve dishes that make people happy, make them smile.