Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo has made a name for itself as the Japanese capital’s premier gourmet hotel. A number of its restaurants are world renowned, the wine cellar is an oenophile’s dream and the hotel’s resident sake expert beat 25,000 competitors last year to be crowned the world champion sake sommelier.
This week, the Tokyo hotel is upping the dining stakes again with a visit from Thierry Marx, the legendary molecular gastronomist who works as culinary director of Mandarin Oriental, Paris. Marx has a long and decorated résumé, though, he’s probably best known for his 15 years at the helm of the Château Cordeillan-Bages, a 17th-century-mansion-turned-hotel near Bordeaux.
The Japanophile (he also practices judo and kendo) says he is such a fan of the cuisine that keeps a set of chopsticks handy in the pocket of his chef coat. He shares his mentor Joël Robuchon’s passion for Japanese food and says transferring his Parisian cuisine to a Tokyo high-rise won’t be difficult at all. “There is absolutely no conflict between French and Japanese cuisine,” says the man with the avant-garde approach to culinary textures and colors. “Of course, I will use locally produced ingredients, and the good thing about it is that they are always top quality in Japan.”
Marx is flying over with his Japanese sous chef, Tamaki Yoshida, and the Paris hotel’s pastry chef, Pierre Mathieu. They’ll work with the Tokyo team to introduce signature dishes from Mandarin Oriental, Paris’ Sur Mesure restaurant.
This marks Marx’s second trip to Japan this year. He spent time there in January to explore rural Japanese agriculture, and says he’s excited to take his menu East: “Japanese people are such foodies and passionate about gastronomy. It is a real pleasure to cook for them.”
Marx will be in the kitchen for lunches and dinners from May 20 through 26. A three-course menu featuring a choice of fish or meat will be ¥4,800 (about US$47); a four-course selection will be ¥6,400 (US$63); a full five-course dinner of two appetizers, fish, beef and two desserts will cost ¥12,000 (US$118).
Photos courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group