Add Été, her six-seat restaurant, to your Tokyo travel itineraries
Japanese chef Natsuko Shoji of Été of Tokyo is the 2022 recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award.
Shoji will be honoured as part of the 10th annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, broadcast globally on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Facebook page and YouTube channel on Tuesday 29 March.
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants director of content William Drew said: “Natsuko Shoji’s elegant dishes reveal her perfectionism, attention to detail and creative vision, making her a worthy recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award. With her appreciation for seasonality, coupled with her brilliant aptitude for blending fashion and gastronomy, the chef’s creations embody the artistry of Japanese cuisine.”
Shoji’s caviar ramen
Shoji’s interest in the culinary arts began in her teens after making cream puffs for a high school assignment. After graduation, Shoji began her career at Florilège, the progressive French-inspired Tokyo restaurant that has been a high-flyer on recent Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants lists.
Shoji was promoted to sous chef within three years at Florilège and in 2014, she opened Été (meaning ‘summer’ in French), a modest cake shop in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighbourhood
Été earned near-immediate global attention and a year later she transformed the space into a four-seat, invitation-only restaurant, further raising her profile in Tokyo’s competitive dining scene.
Drawing inspiration from iconic fashion houses and designer handbags, Chef Shoji developed a line of signature cakes, including her sought-after strawberry cake that takes its cues from Louis Vuitton’s Damier print, and her peach cake that evokes the distinctive stitching on Chanel’s Matelassé bags.
Été earned acclaim from both celebrities, including David Beckham, and renowned chefs, including René Redzepi and Ferran Adrià.
Shoji’s status as one of the culinary world’s emerging stars was confirmed when she was named the 2020 recipient of the Asia’s Best Pastry Chef Award, sponsored by Valrhona.
SIGN UP NOW: GET THE CONNECTING TRAVEL DAILY NEWSLETTER FOR FREE
In December 2019, Été expanded to a six-seat restaurant. Intimate and indulgent, Shoji’s intricately crafted 10-course menu demonstrates her meticulous approach, respect for ingredients and creative execution.
Embracing savoury courses as well as her aforementioned desserts, Été’s signature dishes now include a salted tart topped with Hokkaido sea urchin and mimolette cheese; delicate tilefish paired with a white asparagus soup and complemented with kegani crab meat, and Akagyu beef with a truffle sauce and bone broth jus.
Accepting the honour, Shoji said: “I’m 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 to other female chefs in Japan and trust this award will motivate them to follow their passions. I would also like to honour the other chefs who have mentored me throughout my career and inspired me with their craftsmanship and artistry.”
For more information, visit www.theworlds50best.com/asia