Chef of the Week: Yoshihiko Shida, Chef Tutor at Tokyo College of Sushi & Washoku London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
10 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion comes from natural ingredients, and I learned my skills in hotels and restaurants in Japan and Switzerland.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The opportunity to make luxurious dishes with simple ingredients.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Rice, bonito flakes and kelp.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Japanese knives, chopping boards and frying pans.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Dishes that are simple, healthy, sustainable and earth friendly.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
One common mistake that lets chefs down is disposing of important ingredients too easily. Often, chefs may overlook or discard parts of ingredients that can add valuable flavour, texture, or nutritional benefits to a dish. For example, vegetable scraps can be used to make a rich stock, and fish bones can enhance the depth of a seafood broth. Learning to utilise every part of an ingredient not only minimises waste but also maximises the potential of each dish, demonstrating both creativity and resourcefulness in the kitchen

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time of year for food is winter. During this season, we have the opportunity to use ingredients that have been preserved, such as pickled vegetables, cured meats and dried fruits. These ingredients are often incorporated into warm, comforting dishes that are perfect for the colder weather. The rich, hearty flavours that come from preserved foods add a unique depth and warmth to winter meals, making them particularly enjoyable.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?

How do you come up with new dishes?
I come up with new dishes when I am deeply immersed in my work. Being fully absorbed in the creative process allows me to experiment and innovate. As the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche said, “When one is seriously absorbed in their work, inspiration follows.” This focused dedication helps me draw inspiration from various sources, whether it’s the ingredients I work with, the techniques I use, or the culinary traditions I explore.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Escoffier, Toru Okuda and Chef Nobu.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Sushi Science.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Chef Endo Kazutoshi.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year? Kioku by Endo at OWO London.