‘Yes Chef,’ with Chef Natsuko Shoji of été Tokyo

Meet Chef  Natsuko Shoji: Asia’s Best Female Chef of 2022 and the creative mind behind Tokyo’s exclusive été restaurant.
Text by Nikola Hassan

Renowned for her progressive, French haute cuisine and impeccable craftsmanship, Shoji’s culinary artistry has attracted global attention.

Photo Credit: Aya Kawachi

As part of our International Women’s Day edition of “Yes, Chef”, this edition features Natsuko Shoji, one of the hottest names in the culinary world – 2022 winner of Asia’s Best Female Chef Award by the 50 Best, and Chef-Owner of été, an exclusive Omakase in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. Her progressive, French haute cuisine has attracted some of the world’s biggest celebrities such as Peggy Gou recently, David Beckham, Murakami Akashi and Chef René Redzepi. Renowned for her impeccable craftsmanship, Shoji opened été (meaning ‘summer’ in French) in 2015 as a tart shop, expanding it at first to a by the introduction-only 4-seat restaurant, and now a coveted 6-seater.

Photo Credit: Aya Kawachi

Shoji shares with The Peak Malaysia the best dish she ever made, her earliest food memory and a glimpse into aspirations for the future of this 33-year-old prolific chef.

Photo Credit: Aya Kawachi

1. Describe your cooking style in 3 words

Luxury, haute couture, sustainable

2. Your favourite flavour

Miso soup my mother makes, and custard cream at été.

3. Your go-to kitchen tool (besides a knife)


4. Most underrated ingredient

Natto (fermented soy beans)

Photo Credit: Aya Kawachi

5.Most overrated ingredient


6. Best dish you have ever made

Caviar mille-feuille

7. Is cooking an art or science?

Both are essential factors of cooking

8. If you weren’t a chef, you would be a…

An artist

Photo Credit: Aya Kawachi

9.What is your first food memory

Tonkatsu made by my grandmother’s

10.Food trends – consider or ignore?

Consider, since my customers are savvy and influential when it comes to setting dining trends

11. Your dream dinner party guests –

The support system for my business: my mother, Chihiro Suda – my best friend and publicist, my architect who designed été and my cake shop, Fleuri d’été, my tax accountant, and Kyoko Nakayama – my best friend who is a great advocate of my business.

You May like: A Symphony of Flavors And Artry at Sushi Mew

12. Which talent do you wish you had?

It sounds a bit dark, but I wish I had the power to bring the dead back to life. Recently, one of my dearest customers who had been so good to me passed away, and I feel so sad.

13. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Furiosa Jo Bassa in “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Photo Credit: Aya Kawachi

14. Who are your heroes in real life?

The World’s Best Female Chefs – Leonor Espinosa, Dominique Crenn

15. What is your idea of a perfect meal?

To dine with the person who is special to you.

16. What is your life motto?

Work hard; what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

To be the World’s Best Female Chef, and contribute to develop, mentor and nurture the new generation of chefs.



1 Chome-2-6 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 151-0063

For more information visit their website. Make your reservations here.

Yes, Chef
A Proust-style questionnaire with the world’s most talked-about Chefs, we look to briefly get beyond the chef’s white and more insight into what sparks their inspirations – in and outside of the kitchen.

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