Japan’s Natsuko Shoji is Asia’s best female chef in 2022

Shoji is the first Japanese chef to win the prestigious award

Manila, Philippines – The Academy of Asia’s Top 50 Restaurants crowned Japan’s Natsuko Shoji as Asia’s Best Female Chef this year, making her the first-ever Japanese chef to win the prestigious title.

Shoji is recognized for her world-renowned work at Shibuya bakeshop Summer (“summer” in French), where she has blended “fashion, seasonality and gastronomy” since opening in 2014. Shoji has been praised by international celebrities like David Beckham and renowned chefs such as René Redzepi and Ferran Adrià.

NATSUKO SHOJI. Photo courtesy of Academy of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

The Best Restaurants Academy described Shoji’s dishes as “elegant”, highlighting his perfectionism, attention to detail and creative vision. His creations “embodied the art of Japanese cuisine”.

In 2020, Shoji was also named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef.

Kisses from the chef! Shoji’s Journey to Culinary Stardom

Like many successful chefs, Shoji’s love for food began at an early age. Her interest in the baking arts began in her teens, when she had to bake cream puffs for a high school assignment.

After graduating from college, Shoji decided to pursue her passion as a career – she started working as a sous chef for the progressive French restaurant Florilège in Tokyo, which also ranked seventh on Japan’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Asia for 2021.

Shoji’s meticulous fruit cake creations are inspired by luxury fashion houses and designer handbags; she made a peach cake with the design of Chanel’s Matelassé bags, and even a strawberry cake inspired by Louis Vuitton’s Damier print, served in an elegant black box.

Photo courtesy of Academy of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

She also favors local and seasonal ingredients. For her delicate cakes, she uses Yuki Usagi Japanese strawberries from Saga, Shimizu Hakutou white peaches from Okayama and Sakura Momo red strawberries from Tokushima.

SUMMER. Photo courtesy of Academy of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Shoji’s creativity and skills have contributed to the growth of Summer – in December 2019, the small patisserie expanded into an exclusive six-seat, “intimate and gourmet” restaurant, which serves an intricate 10-course savory menu and its signature desserts. Shoji is also known for its savory pie topped with Hokkaido sea urchin and mimolette; tilefish with white asparagus soup and kegeni crabmeat; and Akagyu beef with truffle sauce and bone broth jus.

Photo courtesy of Academy of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

“I am deeply grateful for this award and would like to express my gratitude to the people who have supported me. I hope to be a role model for other female chefs in Japan and I hope this award will motivate them to follow their passions,” Shoji said as she accepted the award.

Shoji will officially receive the title at the 10th annual Asia’s Best 50 Restaurant Awards on March 29. culinary industry.

Other female chefs who have won the award include Philippine Margarita Forés de Cibo in 2016; May Chow from Hong Kong in 2017; Thais Bongkoch “Bee” Satongun and Garima Arora in 2018 and 2019; Korean Cho Hee-sook in 2020; and Shanghai-based chef DeAille Tam in 2021. – Rappler.com

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