Interview with Michelin Star Chef Kawano and Chef Sato

  • By Clarence

With the launch of méli mélo’s new Guest Chef residency (hokkAsia) coming up next week, we took time to catch up with Michelin-acclaimed Chef Kawano of Chaleur in Singapore and Chef Sato of méli mélo Sapporo ahead of the inaugural chapter of the HokkAsia programme to find out what is in store for guests at their upcoming Four Hands 8 Course Set Dinner experience.

Chef Sato - How did the idea for HokkAsia and the Chef Residency Program come about?

The idea for "HokkAsia" and the Chef Residency Program was born to connect the winter gastronomy of Hokkaido with the diverse culinary cultures of Asia, offering new flavours and experiences. It serves as a catalyst to blend the different elements of both, expanding the possibilities of cuisine.

What was the catalyst for this unique partnership between Chaleur and méli mélo?

Chef Sato - The unique partnership between Chaleur and méli mélo was sparked by mutual fascination with each other's culinary philosophies and creative approaches. They felt that the merging of ideas and techniques from different backgrounds could create special culinary experiences.

Chef Kawano - It was sparked by a shared appreciation for each other's culinary philosophies and creative approaches. The aim was to explore new culinary possibilities by delving into different cultures and ingredients.

Can you share some insights into the collaboration process and how you integrated your culinary styles for this event?

Chef Sato - During the collaboration process, we explored new culinary approaches by sharing our expertise and ideas while respecting each other's signature styles.

Chef Kawano - I collaborated with Chef Sato to create unique menus suitable for the event by exchanging ideas and experimenting with recipes. While maintaining our own cooking styles, we focused on incorporating new elements to deliver exceptional dishes.

Chef Sato
Chef Kawano

You both celebrate French cuisine with Japanese sensibilities. Can you share more about the similarities in your culinary style?

Chef Sato - Chef Kawano and I both cherish French cuisine with a touch of Japanese sensibility. Our common ground lies in valuing seasonal ingredients and maximizing the natural flavours of the ingredients.

Chef Kawano - We both celebrate French cuisine with a Japanese sensibility, my cooking style emphasizes bringing out the natural flavours of ingredients and maintaining a simple yet delicate balance. Commonalities with Chef Sato include respecting ingredients and expressing seasonality in our dishes.

Chef Kawano - Are there any typical ingredients or dishes from Chaleur that guests can experience during the event? Could you please provide more details about Tokachi Wagyu?

Chef Kawano - Guests can experience typical ingredients and dishes from Chaleur during the event, such as the premium Hokkaido-produced "Tsukigami yuri" root renowned for its luxurious taste. Additionally, signature dishes from Chaleur like the Duck Noodle can be enjoyed.

I'm fascinated by the excellent quality and flavourful taste of Tokachi Wagyu. The brand beef from Tokachi, Hokkaido, evokes the rich natural surroundings of the region, and its lean meat, despite having little fat, remains succulent, allowing one to savour the rich umami of lean meat.

Chef Sato - Will there be opportunities for guests to interact with the chefs during the event? What do you hope guests will feel when they join you for this special collaboration?

Chef Sato - During the event, opportunities will be provided for guests to meet and talk with the chefs. By directly hearing stories and thoughts from the chefs, guests can enjoy a deeper culinary experience. When guests participate in this special collaboration, I hope they feel not only new culinary experiences but also the beauty of Hokkaido's winter and the diversity of Asia, experiencing pleasant surprises and a sense of happiness.

Thank you gentlemen, we can’t wait to experience the dinner first hand. Chef Kawano, what are you most looking forward to during your stay in Niseko?

Chef Kawano - During my stay in Niseko, I am most looking forward to discovering new culinary possibilities through collaboration with Chef Sato while immersing myself in the local ingredients and culture. I am excited about the inspiration provided by the local scenery and materials.

A big thank you to Chef Kawano and Chef Sato for giving us a glimpse into the exciting gastronomic experience ahead. Arigato gozaimasu.

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