Hiroyuki Sakai

From Academic Kids

Hiroyuki Sakai (Sakai Hiroyuki; 坂井 宏行) (born April 2, 1942 in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan) is a well-known Japanese chef who specializes in French cuisine. Sakai is most famous for being the second, and last, Iron Chef French on the Japanese television show Iron Chef, first appearing at the beginning of 1994 (after Yutake Ishinabe retired) and continued his appearance in shows over nine seasons. Sakai has the best winning percentage of the Iron Chefs. His stature as the top chef on the show was formalized when he was named the "King of Iron Chefs" after emerging victorious from the show's grand finale, a tournament involving all the active Iron Chefs.

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Iron Chef French Hiroyuki Sakai

Sakai Hiroyuki is famous for being a womanizer; his smooth personality and friendly attitude certainly help in this regard. His television trademark is a red French chef's costume; he rises into Kitchen Stadium holding a pear in his hand.

He cooks at his French restaurant La Rochelle in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, which offers a great view of Tokyo from its 32nd floor location. The restaurant's name is from a city in France where Sakai spent some time (as revealed in the France Showdown special).

He is often called the "Delacroix of French cuisine" because of the beautiful way in which his dishes are presented. Sakai is a member of the Club des Trente, an organization of French chefs in Japan.

When he was a young boy, Iron Chef French Hiroyuki Sakai wanted to become a chef so that he would never go hungry. Born in Kagoshima, he began learning his craft in Osaka at a restaurant in the Shin Osaka Hotel when he was 17.

But Sakai began to rebel against the culinary world's feudalistic system of apprenticeship. At 19, he traveled alone to Perth, Australia, to build his skills at the Hotel Oriental. After a year and a half in Australia he returned to Japan, spending three years studying at Ginza Shiki with the late Fujio Shito, his predecessor as the leader of French cooking in Japan. He later worked as a chef at the restaurants Coco Palms in Aoyama and John Kanaya in Roppongi. When he was 38, Sakai opened his own restaurant, La Rochelle, in Aoyama. Several years later he moved the restaurant to Shibuya, where it remains today.

While retaining the essence of traditional French cuisine, Sakai's groundbreaking Japanese-French style incorporates Japan's finest cooking techniques. His dishes fuse the flavors of Japan's four seasons with a French "esprit." Sakai's imagination is often sparked by something he glimpses in the kitchen that day.

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