“We wanted to combine Japanese haute cuisine with European gastronomy,” says Ryôdô Kajiwara about his restaurant Ryôdô. The chef talks about his culinary experience in Europe, especially in the Hollerich district of Luxembourg City, where he opened his restaurant. Interview.
Could you tell us about your journey in a few words?
I grew up in the Tokyo area, and then I worked there, in gourmet restaurants gaining authentic experience in Japanese haute cuisine. Then I decided to move to Luxembourg with my wife. Indeed, I wanted to perfect my mastery of European gastronomic cuisine with starred chefs and restaurants, such as Léa Linster, the Clairefontaine and Mosconi. In 2020, with my wife, I decided to open my restaurant, Ryôdô. We wanted to combine Japanese haute cuisine and European gastronomy and make it a reference. The Gault&Millau and Michelin guides listed Ryôdô the following year, despite the pandemic. Later, the Gault&Millau guide selected me as Chef of the Year, which is a great honor and a source of motivation.
“Eating is one of the ways to have a good life, with wisdom.” Ryôdô Kajiwara
What experience do you offer at Ryôdô?
In Japan, eating is not enough to define “eating.” On the one hand, eating is one of the ways to have a good life, with wisdom. Besides, “the way of cooking” is pronounced “ryô-dô,” like my name and the one I gave to our restaurant. On the other hand, this way also means deep respect for the ingredients. They must be able to express their own taste, especially through their freshness, while contributing to the harmony of the dish. We develop our dishes and menus according to this principle. Indeed, each kitchen has its own way while sharing the same fundamental nature with the others. The kitchens can therefore dialogue with each other, creating an experience whose intensity we want to share with our customers.
What links do you see between Luxembourg and Japan?
For me, there is a great depth to these links. My wife has a French-Luxembourgish background, and our daughter speaks both languages fluently. And while the Japanese and Luxembourg cultures seem very different, there are similarities. I have seen how open Luxembourgers are to other cultures while remaining proud of their own. The Japanese agree on this point: They are fond of the benefits of other cultures, but they also maintain a link with their own past. Finally, both countries value the inseparable relationship between living well and eating well.