After Hirohisa Hayashi’s father was forced to take over his father’s restaurant, he knew he didn’t want to do the same to his own son, Still, Hayashi decided to become a chef, learning the basics of Japan’s kaiseki tradition at a restaurant in Kyoto before opening New York’s Michelin-starred Hirohisa. “It might be the DNA,” he says.
Though the Kyoto restaurant and its kaiseki expertise formed Hayashi’s foundation for cooking, the chef ultimately decided to pursue kappo style — a more casual variation of Japanese fine dining, served at a chef’s counter. “When I considered opening a restaurant, I felt kaiseki would be too uptight for me,” he remembers. “I wanted to try many different things, so I chose kappo.”
Through kappo style, Hayashi is able to explore the world of wild game, which is seldom used in Japanese cooking. He explains: “In kappo — and kaiseki as well — there’s sashimi, sushi, tempura, and meat. “Kappo demands the mastery of a variety of techniques,” he says. “So it’s difficult.”