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Watch: Why This New York Sushi Chef Prefers Japan’s Kappo Style

Chef Hirohisa Hayashi gets to play with wild game, tempura, and sashimi at his Michelin-starred restaurant

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.”

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