Let there be no doubt, Noriyuki Hamada has personality! He approaches life head-on, fully aware of what it can offer him if he puts the effort in. He didn’t just adopt his haircut from the Samurai, but also one of their key precepts: tenacity. A tireless, self-taught worker, he essentially approaches cooking as a means to express what he loves and what he is, in other words, as an art in its own right. To achieve that, he seeks a balance between an indispensable technique and the expression of his own aspirations. He seeks perfection in every technical gesture, while drawing from his intuition to produce a cuisine that resembles him, Japanese but above all “Hamada”, personal and original!
The son of caterers, as a very young child Noriyuki was immersed in a world where his parents prepared the famous Bento boxes, which he paid tribute to in the Bocuse d’Or through his fish recipe. While still a boy, he enjoyed using up leftovers and decided he would become a cook… He trained through contact with Japanese, Italian and French cuisine (for example Régis Marcon who played a major role, says Noriyuki), but understood how important it is to re-immerse in your own culture, drawing from it the things that have made him a very great chef today. Executive Chef at the Bleston Court Yakawatan in Karuizawa near Nagano, he’s a happy man; the region is stunning and allows him to be in contact with a natural environment that inspires him. He has his own vegetable garden and pig farm, the farmers and breeders around him spontaneously provide him with the very best of their production, delighted that a young chef is playing the local card and transforming their products into treasures of creativity!
At the Bocuse d’Or, his meat dish, presented on a tray in the form of a huge open book, was entitled: “The book of nature”; for Noriyuki, nature already contains everything, and it is from nature that we must glean a sort of culinary truth.
He views competition as a means to set himself a challenge, a tool for self-development, but above all he’s happy that his presence on the podium acknowledged a form of Japanese cuisine with its own special status, modern and personal, and is delighted that the local aspect could shine under the global spotlights. Since 2016, he has been working in the sumptuous setting of a restaurant at the hotel HOSHINOYA in Tokyo, and it is already a resounding success.