The Exquisite Cuisine of Kyoto's Kikunoi Restaurant
A stunning journey in dazzling photos and insightful text through the courses of Japan's most elegant and artistic cuisine
“It seems fitting that Kyoto should be the home of a cuisine, which, like the city itself, is born of an intimate communion between the work of man and the gifts of nature. This is what makes Yoshihiro Murata a truly unique chef.”
—Ferran Adrià [elBulli]
“Chef Murata represents the best of a rarified area of Japanese cuisine: he has a firm commitment to traditional excellence along with a desire to always look for something fresh and innovative.”
—Nobu Matsuhisa [Nobu]
The specialized cuisine served at Kyoto's famed Kikunoi restaurant is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, and Kaiseki, by owner / chef Yoshihiro Murata, is at once a cookbook and a work of art. This sumptuously illustrated volume features—in seasonal format—the style of cooking that began as tea ceremony accompaniment and developed into the highest form of Japanese cookery.
Kaiseki celebrates the natural ingredients of each season with a spectacular presentation. After a front section explaining the history and components of kaiseki cuisine, Murata introduces his establishment's impressive menu. With candor and insight, he shares his thoughts on ingredients, preparation methods and the philosophy behind his dishes. He explains how the cuisine has changed over the years and continues to do so. His professional and personal accounts are enlightening; ranging, for example, from how some dishes evolve in the search for the proper combination of ingredients to a description of a learning encounter with a zen master.
Approximately twenty dishes from each season, chosen by chef Murata, have been lovingly and carefully photographed to convey the experience of being an honored guest at his restaurant. Also included are the exact recipes direct from the Kikunoi kitchen, and a glossary of kaiseki terms.
“If it has ever occurred to you, as it has to me lately, how the food of some superstar French and Spanish chefs leads right back to the Japanese tradition of exquisite little plates called kaiseki, this book confirms that idea. Preparing the food beautifully photographed in the lush KAISEKI by Kyoto restaurateur Yoshihiro Murata is almost beside the point; understanding, and salivating, is.”
“Visually stunning... Each dish is a beautiful example of the Japanese cooking art form, Kaiseki.”
“A striking new book on kaiseki cuisine by one of Japan's top chefs and restaurateurs. The recipes give insights into the mechanics of a little-understood culinary world.”
About the Authors
YOSHIHIRO MURATA is the third generation owner / chef of Kikunoi, the renowned Kyoto kaiseki restaurant with a branch in Tokyo. He is the author of several books; this is the first to be published in English.
The work of photographer MASASHI KUMA has appeared in numerous publications, including Voce and GQ.