A journey through Taglio Sartoriale

Discovering the 6 emerging chefs participating in Grana Padano’s new project: the first one is Kei Fukada

Kei Fukada, patron chef of restaurant Frick in Tok

Kei Fukada, patron chef of restaurant Frick in Tokyo, is one of the 6 emerging chefs who will participate in the final phase of Taglio Sartoriale Internazionale - The New Generation, a project created by Grana Padano in collaboration with Identità Golose. The final step will take place on Tuesday February 11th on the occasion of Identità Milano

Today we begin a series of articles dedicated to the emerging chefs participating in Taglio Sartoriale Internazionale – The New Generation, a project created by Consorzio Grana Padano in collaboration with Identità Golose - here the details – which will involve six chefs under 35 from three different European countries – France, Germany and Russia – and two extra-European countries – Japan and United States. The six chefs will present their recipes using Grana Padano as an ingredient on Tuesday February 11th 2014. On this occasion, the jury of experts directed by Paolo Marchi will name the Grana Padano testimonial who will participate in Identità New York 2014. The first of the six emerging chefs is Kei Fukada.

Since he was a child, Fukada loved cooking and graduating in this profession was the necessary next step. The road to become a chef, however, is not easy, especially when you want to match Japanese gastronomic culture with that of the Mediterranean area and of Italy in particular. The choice of moving to Italy for a while was decisive: Fukada spent about 2 years here, trying to study and understand every facet of a cuisine which, as he says himself, is not straightforward for someone from the East.

Yasuhiro Sasajima

Yasuhiro Sasajima

The first large obstacle to overcome was the difference between traditional and homely cuisine and high cuisine: these concepts may be clear to us but not to the young Japanese chef who owes his experience at restaurant La Tenda Rossa (1 Michelin star in San Casciano Val di Pesa, Florence) the understanding of signature cuisine and its dynamics. This experience was so precious that when he returned to his country, chef Yasuhiro Sasajima didn’t wait too long to ask Kei Fukada to become part of his team at restaurant Il Ghiottone and work as his sous-chef. The reciprocal appreciation, which led them to interpret Italian cuisine in the large metropolis of Kyoto, was also the reason why Sasajima decided to recommend this young chef for the Taglio Sartoriale Internazionale – The New Generation project, created and sponsored by Consorzio Grana Padano.

In particular, he admires his ex-sous-chef’s sense for colours, his skilful hand when combining seasonal Japanese ingredients with the founding elements of Italian cuisine, such as pasta or meat dishes, the use of fish in a completely different way from the sushi tradition. Moreover, Fukada has demonstrated on more than one occasion, that he is very passionate about his profession. The 35-year-old chef has poured the same enthusiasm into his new restaurateur adventure, opening Tokyo Frick, a place where he can propose his ideas following a unique objective: a dish should not be just good, it should give a guest the desire to come back and try some more. Fukada never stops to tell his assistants and waiters that they need to become fans of their clients, sharing their pleasure for having them as guests at Frick’s.

On the occasion of the tenth edition of Identità Milano, on Tuesday February 11th, Kei Fukada will present his dish called Giardino Vegetale (Vegetal Garden) in which Grana Padano is served in different textures and where the connections between Japan and Italy are underlined in various ways.