What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
Benoit Dewitte | My earliest memories of being interested in food are definitely linked to my mother’s cooking.
Atsushi Tanaka | I would have to say that my earliest memories of food are that of beetroot…I have very clear memories of beetroot!
What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
BD |I think the5 years I spentworking and developing my skillsin the south of france have been one of the biggest influences on my cooking.
AT |My biggest inspiration comes from thesplendor and offerings of everycountry’s cuisine, whether that beJapan,France,Spain,Northern Europe,the United States…they are all sources of creative inspiration for me.
Describe how you see your own culinary style and how it has evolved over the years…
BD | I’d say that my culinary style has its roots inSouthern french cuisine, with a real depth of flavour, but with a lot of simplifying of the platingover the years.
AT |I think my culinary style has been a culmination of all the things I’ve learnt so far. I think you are the product of all the different environments, chefs and cuisines that you have experienced in your career and therefore play an important role in shaping your style.
Tell us a bit about what you will be doing during your collaboration at Restaurant Benoit & Bernard Dewitte…
Both| During the dinner we will preparefour dishes eachwith carefully selected wine that we have both chosen, we willthen collaborate on a couple ofmain dishes to create a unique taste sensationfor the guests.
What food trends are exciting you right now?
BD | I think one of the main trends that continues to be successfuland evolving is The Nordic foodstamp. It is definitely a great movement in culinary arts.
AT | At the moment I am particularly interested and excited byCharcoal.
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at the collaborative dinner?
Both| The main aim of the dinner is to provide guests with the ultimate taste experience by combining each chef’s signiture dishes.This will not be a usual dinner for either one of us, this will be a very special experience that calls upon both our efforts and individual imput.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
BD | The most memorable moments in my career so far are without a doubt my trips to Hong Kong and Copenhagen. They have both taught me a great deal.
AT | Themost memorable moments for me have to be during my time working at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. The atmosphere during the busiest hours of service were like being on a battlefield with all systems go. There is nothing compareable to that experience and I don’t think I will ever forget it.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
Both| I think for both of us it would be to explore more. To travel around and work in different restaurants toexperience the habits and cuisine’s of as many countries as possible.
What is next for both of you?
BD | Our next project is to open our wine/food bar which will be very exciting.
AT | One of my main objectives to work on now if gettingmichelin stars..that is what I have planned next!
What are your guilty pleasures?
BD | I always enjoy a littlecityhopping to Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and exploring new culinary hotspots.
AT | I cant deny that I always get great pleasure from seeing every single client, staff member, family eating and enjoying my cuisine.
Find out more about Chef Dewitte and the collaboration dinner with Atsushi Tanaka