TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
The Minimalist Japanese Aesthetic
Hidden within the alleys of Zhongxiao East Road, Kitcho shines with dim, soft lighting. Its extensive interior reflects a Kyoto-styled aesthetic that at a first glance, may appear to be simple, and yet, it is full of surprises. The name “Kitcho” was actually given by a Japanese friend wishing fortune and prosperity. Designed by the chef’s older brother, the restaurant logo draws inspiration from the famous Mount Fuji and emphasizes a traditional Japanese ambience. Speaking of the wooden dry-age fridge sitting behind the counter, Jay recounts how he personally visited a renowned sensei in Japan to ask him to design one for his restaurant. After repeated inspection and interior changes, the sensei told Jay before leaving Taiwan, “With my fridge, you have to receive the Michelin honor.” Perhaps it was this intangible pressure that transformed into his many years of diligence and conviction, like a beacon that guided him towards success.
Specializes in Sushi
There are no shortcuts when it comes to perseverance. “Customers can easily tell when you serve them food made with no emotions,” Jay emphasized, which is why even after years of making sushi, he still believes that constant practicing is a necessity. Sitting in front of the counter, watching him demonstrate his excellent knife skills—in between each cut and slice, a plate of deliciousness is born. The taste of sushi is fleeting like a springtime sakura, the best part only dances on the tongue in the blink of an eye. To let his guests enjoy the best flavour is perhaps Jay’s reason why he insists on making sushi, and sushi only. In his earlier days, he worked at another renowned Taipei sushi restaurant, Kougyoku, and learned from itamae, Ken-san, who will forever be an important influence. Ken-san once told him, “Cooking is very similar to life, if you believe this is the right thing, then keep doing it.” Lived by this belief ever since, Jay continues to work towards bringing only perfection to his customers—like the polished brown cypress counter, the emerald porcelain sushi plates, the best quality fish that once swam freely in the ocean. There is simply no room for imperfection.
The Truest Flavour
Though acclaimed as one of the best amidst all sushi restaurants, Jay had never allowed himself to slacken over the past ten years. Eyes beaming with conviction, he wants to thank all the customers who had shown their unwavering support. Constantly changing the menu, Kitcho’s specialty is in “omakase,” which also means trust in Japanese—dining at Kitcho becomes a personalized experience that still promises a flavorful sensation. Continuing to explore innovative dishes while traveling and making connections along the way, he perceives the changing Japanese culinary concept and tries to find new ingredients to work with. And yet, he had never forgotten why he started cooking. When asked about his future plans, Jay wishes to collaborate with Sushi Amamoto in the hopes of producing more novel dishes and finding the heartfelt sincerity that will endure through time.