“It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see”
“The love affair with Japanese cuisine and culture began as a five year old in 1970’s Munich. My parents frequented a Japanese restaurant established by the great Japanese actor, Toshirō Mifune.
There at the age of 5 I befriended Mifune’s restaurant’s chef and staff – one particular chef who had previously been one of the Japanese Emperor’s head chefs.
I was growing up In Germany at a time of still having a racist climate and the average society held many prejudices with extremely ignorant minds.
My hair being black and so I was ostozissd from there society to the point of death wishes as a small child. In Mifune ‘s restaurant I felt at peace and loved and excepted. The kindness and humanity I received from everyone at Mifune significantly impacted me for the rest of my life and I felt I expanded for the first time- my Japanese soul.
It was the humanity and kindness, the sophistication, art and refinement of all these special people and the culture that fascinated me and gave me hope which eventually led me to start a culinary journey driven by my experiences around Mifune as a child and that still drives me to this today.
I will always cherish the japanese cuisine for this reason with the utmost respect love and care “
I thank Mifune, Shiro Mifune, The little old Lady in the shop, all the ladies and Chefs from Mifune Munich for showing me kindness, culture and happiness and for giving me a Japanese hart and Soul.
About Ni Lenette:
Ni Lenette is not only a sensitive and forward thinking chef but has the rare ability of being a restauranteur and chef at the same time having consulted many successful businesses in the uk.”
Ni’s love for Japanese cuisine has taken her around the world where, amongst others, she has worked with Three-Michelin-starred chef Seiji Yamamoto at Ryugin Tokyo and master Omakase Chef Singi Nakamura from Nobu London.She has also had the honour of meeting the inspirational Yoshimi Tanigawa at Kichisen.
The natural culmination of this passion was the opening of her own restaurant in London’s Clapham. Tsunami opened in 2001 to extraordinary acclaim and went on to be awarded both Time Out’s and Harden’s Japanese Restaurant of the Year.
It also gained two prestigious AA Rosettes and remained a favourite haunt of food critics and celebrities alike until Ni’s departure in 2005.
She continues to travel extensively and spend as much time as she can in Kyoto honing her skills with different chefs and researching all aspects of the region’s cuisine. While her studies have involved historical culinary documents and courses in Keiseki cuisine at university in Osaka, Ni possesses a natural curiosity and a remarkable ability to learn from those around her.
Although an acknowledged Japanese specialist, working with acclaimed restaurants such as Umu and Nobu, Ni has an extraordinary range of influences.
On her journey to create a new expression of Japanese cuisine Ni takes an holistic approach, emphasising the importance of origin for ingredients and a deep connection between grower and produce. Similarly, the design, materials and the environment of her surroundings are all integral to her vision.
All these elements are at the forefront of her thinking as she prepares for her latest and most ambitious project – the culmination of 15 years work and research on the search of the restaurant of her dreams.
The beautiful Music and video is from