- You are very selective about the ingredients which you use. I heard that you frequent the farms to see the ingredients first-hand.
Nowadays, many chocolatiers visit the sources. For me, it is more a journey to discover good cacao. I also want to see what kinds of people are using what kinds of methods to produce the cacao. It is very important to converse, even if it is for a short time, with the producers of cacao who are pursuing high quality and taste. Seeing the passion, the efforts and the lifestyles of the producers plays a crucial part when it comes to choosing cacao.
- Do you go every year?
Yes, but the destination is always different. Some of the places I have visited are- Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Madagascar. I’ve been to Vietnam too, although it is not a source of cacao (laugh).
- Do you collect information about the quality of the cacao for each year?
Yes I do. I also look into hygiene. I check to see how the cacao is grown, what kinds of machinery are used and whether or not the cacao is being distributed to markets. I make sure that hygiene is considered when storing the cacao, as this greatly affects the quality.
- It’s your 25th anniversary and your 11th year in Japan. What kind of visions do you have for Japan?
I have many, both short and long term. One thing I have been working on for a long time is making couverture chocolate. I want to create a couverture which expresses my identity and completes my mission.
Take the bonbon chocolate as an example. My recipe for making this is very unique and does not overlap with other chocolatiers. I want to continue to pursue my own style and maintain quality which cannot be topped by anyone else.
- Do you have any other examples of how you are different?
I create many types of flavors, which begins with creating numbers of textures. When the flavors and textures are combined, they create a very distinct aroma. I recently compared my chocolate with someone else’s. I myself was astonished with the results. When you eat my chocolate, the flavor lasts for a long time. I got the same feedback from JAL, which is one of my clients. I make the chocolate served on their first class flights, and they were referring to the bonbon chocolate introducing a harmony of spices and honey. To create the long lasting taste, I made very precise adjustments to the texture. Through this, the potential of aroma is brought out at its fullest.
- In Asia, you have the highest number of stores in Japan. Do you have a message for your fans here?
I am very passionate about what I do, and in the same way, I hope that my customers are passionate about tasting my creations. After all, I feel that passion is what makes life so beautiful.
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