Chef Atsushi Tanaka will take his proposal at A.T. restaurant in Paris to Moray in Peru to celebrate his friendship with Virgilio Martinez and Pia León, cooking with the World’s Best Female Chef 2021 and current head chef at restaurants Kjolle and Central, World’s Best Restaurant 2023 according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
Paris, July 12th 2023. In April 2014, Chef Tanaka opened his first restaurant, A.T, in the city of Paris, just a stonecast away from the bank of the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral, in the very vibrant Latin Quarter. Almost ten years later, he will be cooking at MIL Restaurant (Moray, Peru) with Pia León, World’s Best Female Chef 2021 and current head chef at Kjolle (#28 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking), and The World’s Best Restaurant, Central.
Chef Atsushi Tanaka met Pia León and Virgilio Martínez back in 2019, during his first visit to Central restaurant. Only two years later, in 2021, chef Martínez invited Tanaka to Lima, for a special 4-hands lunch for a selected number of guests and journalists, at his wife’s restaurant Kjolle.
This August, a month from today, Pia León will welcome back chef Atsushi Tanaka, who will this time be cooking along with her at MIL restaurant in Moray.
Tanaka’s passion for Latin America does not come unnoticed. Every summer, he crosses the Atlantic Ocean to meet friends and colleagues, looking for inspiration and experiences that will enrich his proposal back at home. The originality of Central’s concept, vision and proposal, along with the exchange of ideas with chef Martinez, stimulated Atsushi Tanaka’s creativity and emboldened his work philosophy.
In fact, AT’s current summer desert Marigold and Peach was inspired by the herb huacatay which he tasted while visiting Moray and which reminded him of the flavour of these two fruits. This way, the dessert is made up of different textures and shapes ranging from sorbet to crème, granita, meringue and petit cake.
Chef Tanaka visited MIL restaurant in Moray last year and still considers it “the most incredible and emotional dining experience. The local artisans from the neighbouring communities of Kacllaraccay and Mullak’as-Misminay, the ancestors of the Quechua people in the Andes, the nature, the local flavours left an unparalleled impression.”
The Kjolle x A.T. menu will consist of eight moments, with three dishes from the host chef, and five new creations from chef Tanaka inspired by the vast biodiversity of Peruvian ingredients found in the extreme altitudes of the Sacred Valley and the – non-Amazonian – local rainforests. Through it, the Franco-Japanese chef aims to express his deep respect for his hosts’ work in Peru, and the commonality of their values.
About Atsushi Tanaka
Brought up in Japan, trained between Spain and Scandinavia, and finally established in France, Chef Atsushi Tanaka’s cuisine is nor from one place, nor from the other. But it is precisely this international background and Japanese heritage that makes it one-of-a-kind. He is in fact a no-land’s chef.
Coming across a book by Pierre Gagnaire at a very young age fueled Tanaka’s passion for cooking and inspired him to become a chef. After some work experience in his native country and in the cities of Osaka, Ginza and Tokyo, he embarked on a globetrotting journey working with the most avant-garde chefs around the world, with stops in Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. His career has taken him all the way from Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, to Quique Dacosta in Alicante, Pastorale, Sergio Herman, and Slius, as well as to the most renowned Scandinavian restaurants including Geranium in Copenhagen, Frantzen and Oaxen Krog in Stockholm.
Tanaka’s multicultural training and international exposure makes him a unique and non-conformist chef with its own gastronomic identity, which is influenced by French culinary techniques and his Japanese heritage, that he presents through his highly aesthetic creations.
Cultural diversity can be perceived in every detail of his proposal, merging together to write up a poem for the palate, for the eyes, and for the soul. But beyond being a chef, Atsushi Tanaka is an artist, a poet of the senses. He has freed himself from any labels to conceive his own form of culinary art, combining dynamism and endurance in equal measure.
Despite a self-limitation on the use of ingredients to maintain pureness in his dishes as he looks for a creative challenge, beauty is intrinsic in him and thus must be translated into each verse of his menu. For such, he explores three terroirs that merge together inside the walls at A.T. ‘s kitchen: arts, lyrics and crafts.
About A.T. Restaurant
In April 2014, Chef Tanaka opened his first restaurant, A.T, in the city of Paris, just a stonecast away from the bank of the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral, in the very vibrant Latin Quarter.
Barely a year after opening its doors, A.T. was nominated as “One of the coolest places to eat in 2015” by Forbes Magazine. In 2022 the restaurant received its first Michelin star and chef Tanaka has been ranked No.94 in the Best Chef’s award list 2022.
This hidden treasure in the heart of Paris welcomes twenty diners to enjoy an ever-changing single set menu in an intimate and elegant setting. The single set tasting menu at A.T, changes regularly based on the ingredients available in nature and in season, making every visit to Tanaka’s as unique as the first one. Each dish on the menu tells a different story, encapsulating Tanaka’s international culinary journey and his idea of being in harmony with nature and with the seasonality of ingredients.
Tanaka creations are aesthetically distinct and embody a poetic mix of different flavours, colors and textures. His single set tasting menu, composed of 13 steps, is rounded up by a diligent selection of organic and natural wines that sommelier Thibaut Simon constantly adjusts to highlight the ingredients of each dish.
About Pia León
Pia Leon’s trajectory began more than 15 years ago, when she led the kitchen at Central, recognized as The World’s 50 Best Restaurant 2023 by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
While co-directing the kitchen of Central and MIL, together with her husband Virgilio Martínez, Pia is chef-owner of her signature concept, Kjolle.
Her curiosity beyond the product, sensibility for human connection, and appreciation for the handcraft has put Pia in the spotlight worldwide.
Through Mater Iniciativa, the interdisciplinary research center, co-directed together with Malena and Virgilio Martínez, Pia finds a way to go beyond indigenous produces, connecting art, culture and ancient knowledge, building a platform to communicate Peruvian megabiodiversity.
Pia´s work has been celebrated since then; In 2018 as Latin America´s Best Female Chef and in 2021 as the World´s Best Female Chef. She has been invited to participate in projects such as the Netflix show by Michelle Obama, and to be part of the Science and Cooking program of Harvard University.
Looking to the future, Pia continues to challenge herself and inspire others. Her natural leadership and commitment to her team recently led her to be invited by the Basque Culinary Center to be part of the renowned international council, where she is sure to make a lasting impact.
About Kjolle Restaurant
Kjolle (Buddleja Coriacea), pronounced KOY-ay, is a tree that grows in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes, from 3200 meters above sea level. The bright yellow flowers are characterized by their dyeing properties. Pia Leon was inspired by the flower to create her restaurant in Lima.
Kjolle, is a modern restaurant in the trendy Barranco district of Lima, Peru. Housed in the former cultural center Casa Tupac, Kjolle shares its space with Central and Mater, and features an open-plan kitchen that provides full views of Pia León and her team at work. The airy dining room showcases furniture, ceramics, and textiles that are handcrafted in collaboration with local artisans.
Kjolle’s dishes offer a kaleidoscopic taste of Peru’s countless ingredients, with the nine-course tasting menu exploring all corners of the country. Highlights include sea bass with razor clams, a selection of tubers such as yucca, olluco, and potato, and cured duck with squid, onion, and kañiwa, a grain similar to quinoa. The restaurant also offers a vegetarian tasting menu and à la carte options.
Since its inception, Kjolle has been recognized with numerous accolades. In 2020, Forbes named it the Coolest Place to Eat, while Conde Nast included it on its list of The 40 Most Beautiful Restaurants in the World. Currently, Kjolle is ranked in the top 10 of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, and is ranked as #28 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (2023). Kjolle has also travelled abroad, with a pop-up in NYC, as Pia Leon and her team aim to expand their reach and showcase their culinary prowess to new audiences.