At the age of 16, while watching the TV programme “Iron Chef” in his hometown of Saitama, Ryôdô Kajiwara had a revelation. ” When I saw them cooking I said to myself: why not become a chef! ” Surprising thought for a teenager who does not come from a family of cooks, let alone gourmets, but the aspiring chef had found his way.
Once he graduated from a culinary school in Japan, the chef began to practice his profession in Tokyo. Until the age of 25, he trained in various cuisines: Mediterranean, sushi, traditional Japanese “Kaiseki” and French, “but, soon enough, I wanted to come and work in Europe to acquire other techniques.”
After a first job in Paris, he moved to Luxembourg where his wife was working at the time. For 12 years, the chef ravelled through the kitchens of the country’s Michelin-starred restaurants to gain experience of haute gastronomy and to evolve in a variety of culinary worlds. “These years were a very good school, especially for discovering European products that I didn’t know and learning how to work with them.
His CV includes some superb addresses such as Léa Linster, Mosconi, Le Fin Gourmand, Clairefontaine, Le Sud. Through his experiences, Ryôdô has refined his cooking and acquired new skills, particularly in pastry-making.
In 2016, he participated in a culinary competition in France, “Les Espoirs de Mougins,” where he won 2nd prize. This recognition by his peers gave him enough confidence to finally open his own restaurant.
The search for a business was long and, after a lot of work and the wonderful work of the architect Marie-Paule Greisen to create a restaurant with a Japanese atmosphere, Ryôdô’ restaurant was born in Luxembourg-Hollerich.
“I was lucky enough to have the support of my former bosses at Mosconi and Clairefontaine, who told their customers about my restaurant. And, thanks to good word of mouth, we soon had reservations.”
From the outset, it was fairly obvious that his cuisine would focus on Japanese gastronomy. “I really wanted to bring my expertise as a Japanese chef to Luxembourg.” Ryôdô defines his restaurant as Japanese with European influences. “We don’t offer traditional Japanese cuisine, such as the Kaiseki normally found in Japanese gourmet restaurants. We have chosen to merge different cultures.” The chef thus has fun bringing Japanese influences into European dishes, such as the “Opera”-inspired matcha tea cake where matcha replaces coffee in the ganache. Or conversely, Japanese dishes revisited, such as panko crusted deer with a yakiniku sauce – wild game is rarely eaten in Japan.
When asked what product he likes to work with most, the chef answers – almost without hesitation – bluefin tuna, which he offers in sashimi and temaki, “I find here a quality equivalent to the ones we have in Japan.”
In the kitchen, the chef is accompanied by seven cooks, a considerable number but essential for the chef. “We only work with fresh products that require a long time for cutting and preparation.”
One year after its opening, Chef Ryôdô was crowned Chef of the Year 2021 by Gault & Millau Luxembourg. “This prize was a real surprise for me! I even went to the party by myself, not expecting to receive anything,” he recalls with a smile.
The chef wishes to continue to open up new culinary horizons to his customers, while keeping a regularity in his work. “Receiving an award is an honour and I must maintain this excellence,” he emphasises.
During a dinner at Ryôdo, you will discover a passionate and generous chef, who will be happy to explain the history of his dishes, between Japanese tradition and European modernity.
5, Rue Raymond Poincare — L-2342 Luxembourg
Tel. +352 / 27 76 92 85