Q&A with Hiroyasu Kawate: Asia’s one to watch

Later this month Japanese chef Hiroyasu Kawate will accept the One to Watch award at Asia's 50 Best Restaurants. And, with a focus on social issues, his restaurant goes beyond the food coming out of the kitchen, he tells Andy McLean

How did you feel when you won this award?
I was so happy. It means a lot to me that people rate what we are doing, particularly our work in relation to reducing food waste.
[Japan produces 20 million tons of food waste annually, which is six times the weight of used-newspaper waste and four times that of discarded automobiles. Source: Japan For Sustainability.]

What does this award mean to you?
It’s important because we want to use it to draw attention to wider social problems, in particular how much food and produce gets wasted in society. This is a problem Florilège is trying to tackle and we hope others will follow suit.

What do you think caught the awards judges’ attention?
We are honest and consistent in what we do.

What do you think is unique about Florilège?
Our menu has a modern French technique, yet you can still sense the Japanese terroir of our local ingredients. Our chefs are very aware of this too. Our open kitchen allows diners to learn from our chefs about the background of the ingredients, the seasonal aspects of the meal, and our producers.

Who in your professional life has helped you to win this award?
My family. Plus all the people who work at Florilège. Really, it’s the staff who have made it possible with their constant effort. We wouldn’t have won the award without them.

What excites you about Asian restaurants in 2016?
There is a new generation of chefs coming through who are prepared to try something new.

Are there any trends in Asian restaurants that diners should watch out for in 2016?
For me, it’s all about sustainability. Diners should pay attention to sustainable dishes that help address the global problem of wasted food and produce.

How will Florilège change or evolve in the future?
I can’t say too much about what is next for us, it’s a secret for now. But in the future we do want to foster a community of like-minded chefs.

Andy McLean

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