Tast of Japan

Close Up Chef Maetomo Akihiro

Close Up Chef Maetomo Akihiro

Profile:2016~ Chikuyotei UE Square, Singapore


Interview


Q:What made you become a chef; what’s the back story?
A:I enjoy eating and was also interested in cooking. I had a part-time job in an F&B outlet when I was a student.
The main chef was a graduate from a culinary school in Osaka. It influenced me to enroll in a Osaka culinary school and started to be a chef.
Q:Do you have any partiality to cooking Japanese food?
A:Preparation of seasonal ingredients and bringing out their maximum flavour, and making a great plate presentation.
In order to serve dashi (basics of Japanese cuisine) during its best condition, we only prepare the dashi with each order.
Q:Do you have any difficulties cooking Japanese food in Singapore? Do you have to employ any creative techniques?
A:We have to pay attention on the import arrangements of Japanese ingredients when we are serving Japanese cuisines overseas. It is easy to get Japanese ingredients in Singapore, but we have to contact the market frequenty to ensure ingredients are in good quality as we can't choose the ingredients in person at the market. It is also important to ensure local staff are taught on how to prepare the cuisines correctly.
Q:How is the customer’s reaction towards Japanese food?
A:The local customers shows great acceptance towards Japanese cuisines.
There are many local customers who visit Japanese restaurants 3 to 4 days per week.
Q:What do you want your restaurant to be in the future? What kind of challenges do you expect?
A:We aim to provide better ingredients and cuisines, with many customers who visit the restaurant for the cuisines I serve.

Q:What are the circumstances to your working abroad?
A:I was told that a Japanese restaurant in Singapore is looking for a chef. I was not very interested but I changed my mind after visiting Singapore.
Q:Are you fastidious, using only traditional ingredients or would you consider unique local ingredients?
A:We mainly use selected ingredients from Japan, and we are very careful with our popular eel cuisine. Selected live eels are imported from Japan, and it is put inside a special large tank to reduce its stress. The meat will be more tender and the texture will taste better. We slice the eels according to daily demand and grilled them on charcoal fire.
Q:What do you want to convey through Japanese cuisine?
A:We wish to increase the interest towards Japan, such as seasons, culture and "omotenashi" of Japan.
Q:Why do you think the people in the world are fascinated about Japanese food today?
A:Japanese cuisine are well-known to be delicious, healthy and safe for consumption. The large variety of Japanese cuisines and Japanese service standard are the reasons why it is so well accepted.
Q:Any message to people in the world?
A:I hope that the whole world will learn about how amazing Japan is by visiting a Japanese restaurant to take note of the seasonal ingredients used, and waitress in kimono providing amazing service.

Profile


Birthday(age): November 6th, 1981 (35)
Birthplace: Hiroshima
2007 ~ 2011 Chikuyotei, Nishinomiya Japan Michelin 1 Star
2011 ~ 2012 Akane in The Japanese Association of Singapore
2012 ~ 2016 Chikuyotei InterContinental Hotel, Singapore
2016 ~ Chikuyotei UE Square, Singapore