Taste of Japan

Close Up Chef Isao Yamada

Close Up Chef Isao Yamada

Profile:He is an Executive chef of "Brushstroke" of popular Japanese cuisine restaurants in New York.


Q:What made you become a chef; what’s the back story?
A:I read "Kiccho Ryori Kaden" that I accidentally found at a bookstore. And it deeply moved my soul.
Q:Do you have any partiality to cooking Japanese food?
A:In the past as a chef, my agenda has changed with location, timing and my age. Currently, my focus is "Tradition and Innovation", "Influence of Transmission and Transformation".
Q:Do you have any difficulties cooking Japanese food in New York? Do you have to employ any creative techniques?
A:I face difficulties every day…trial and error over and over. But I am enjoying that today.
Q:How is the customers' reaction towards Japanese food?
A:When I just moved to New York ten years ago, people didn't understand the taste of dashi…some told me that it's fishy smelly water. But I didn't stop explaining patiently to the guests about Umami and the importance of Nimonowan - boiled food bowl. Today, I am glad to see some guests exhale 'Ahhh' with satisfaction after sipping a hot bowl.
Q:What do you want your restaurant to be in the future? What kind of challenges do you expect?
A:I'd like to do something that is good for nature (the earth) and health (humans).

Q:What are the circumstances to your working abroad?
A:I met Mr. David Bouley at The Tsuji Culinary Institute where I graduated. Mr. Bouley told me about his new creation "Brushstroke" and I decided to move to New York.
Q:Are you fastidious, using only traditional ingredients or would you consider unique local ingredients?
A:I cannot help paying a lot of attention to dried bonito and tuna flakes, konbu and water no matter what kind of situation I am in.
Q:What do you want to convey through Japanese cuisine?
A:Harmony with nature, harmony with people and balanced healthy food.
Q:Why do you think the people in the world are fascinated about Japanese food today?
A:The unique culture that is unlike any other in the world…I think because the Japanese diet is healthy and balanced. I guess that human bodies all over the world naturally crave it.
Q:Any message to people in the world?
A:Japanese Food - The specialty of the World!


He is an Executive chef of "Brushstroke" of popular Japanese cuisine restaurants in New York. He is keeping with Japanese tradition and technique but also actively incorporating excellent local produce and more fresh.
He was born in Yamaguchi pref, December 15,1974 and grew up Fukuoka pref of Kitakyushu.