13 Sep 2017 in Food Culture
Chef at Villa Del Sol, the restaurant of Hoshino Resorts KAI Atami, Shigeru Konno explains how he fell in love with French cuisine.
How did you become interested in French cuisine?
I was inspired working under Chef Toshio Tanabe in Tokyo. He showed me that simplicity and great ingredients are the key to French food.
After gaining a few years’ experience in Tokyo, I headed to France to learn more. I travelled the country, working in restaurants in Paris, Burgundy, Provence and Savoie – but most of my time was spent in Marseille, in the kitchen of “Le Petit Nice”.
What did you learn during your time in France?
In Marseille, I was fascinated by how the restaurant used local ingredients. They didn’t follow recipes; they simply inspected the day’s seafood and decided how to cook it.
This is the style I’ve adopted at Villa Del Sol. I wait for the day’s catch to come in, inspect the condition of the fish – and only then do I decide what will be on the menu.
It’s always a last-minute decision – which is why we don’t have a written menu!
What is your signature dish?
Bouillabaisse – because I studied in Marseille and because Atami is also on the coast.
I’ve adapted the recipe a little: I don’t use tomatoes or orange peel in the broth, so the focus is really on the fresh flavours of the fish.
But I can’t make bouillabaisse every day: it depends on the catch.
From a chef’s perspective, how does Atami compare to Tokyo?
In Tokyo, you can get hold of ingredients from all over the world – which makes it more difficult to specialize.
Here, in Atami, we have access to some of the best seafood in Japan – and that means I’ve been able to focus 100% on seafood dishes and make it my speciality.