Kei Kobayashi is a Michelin-starred Japanese chef who takes French gastronomy to new heights with a passion.
A Taste of Paris regular – he has taken part in every edition– he was born into a family of chefs in 1977 in Nagano. Whilst watching a programme by Alain Chapel, the 15-year-old future chef had an epiphany: he would become a chef and cook French cuisine in France. After gaining some initial experience in Japan, the 20-year-old Kei Kobayashi headed to France.
He started out with Gilles Goujon at the Auberge du Vieux Puits, followed by Michel Husser at Cerf and finally with Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée in Paris under the leadership of Jean-François Piège and Christophe Moret. Kei Kobayashi kept his sights firmly on his goal of becoming a chef throughout. In 2011, he and his wife took the plunge, taking over Gérard Besson’s establishment in Paris.
Kei Kobayashi’s cuisine reflects his manual dexterity. He demands perfection as he transforms produce into precisely constructed dishes with virtuoso technique and harmonious tastes and textures. He follows the seasons and has the greatest respect for the produce with which he loves to work. He reinvents French specialities in keeping with the finest traditions and declares himself a meat and game specialist, justifiably so as he received his second Michelin star in February 2017.
His Parisian restaurant Kei, rue du Coq Héron, reflects his personality: a calm, enchanting place where meticulous attention is given to each detail.