Chef-proprietor of Osaka’s two Michelin-starred restaurant Hajime, chef Yoneda is a meticulously skilled culinary master. Combining French classics with his Japanese heritage, Hajime has earned a multitude of awards.
Sidestepping his initial career as an engineer, chef Yoneda completed culinary school before moving to France. He worked in Bernard Robin’s kitchen, indulging in painting on his time off. When he returned to Japan, his experience took him to Michel Bras’ restaurant, Toya in Hokkaido before opening Hajime in 2008.
His reverence for nature is reflected in every dish, with dishes like ‘Chikyu’, meaning Earth, which represents the cycle of life and reconstruction of the planet in miniature through 110 different vegetables, grains, herbs and seafood foam. "Fallen leaves from the forest enrich the earth, and the nutrients flow into the sea," he explains. His aim? To show a culinary story about nature and time.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 5 words...
Universe, harmony, circulation, life, love.
How did you feel when you were awarded your first Michelin star?
It is an award that we were aiming, so we were truly glad. But we had done under 10% of what we wanted to do at the time; we’re continuing to innovate towards the ideal restaurant.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Everything - all the things in this space are related. I’m getting inspiration from the connection between all of them.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
If I should survive, I would bring air water collector, compass and camel. If it were just for a few days, I would bring champagne, a Lobmeyr Glass and a beautiful lady.
- 2 Michelin stars – Hajime
- #42 – Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, San Pellegrino
1-9-11 Edobori, Nishi-ku
+81 6 6447 6688
Images and video © Hajime