Cocoro Kaiseki

Capturing the tradition of Kaiseki, the ancient Japanese culinary ritual, with a contemporary touch.

     ︎ In recent years, my interest in Japanese culture has been steadily growing. I’m aligned with their mindfulness traditions and their love for detail, I think its a nice metaphor for the search for beauty in the everyday, and for a meaningful way of living.

For all these reasons, when Kayoko, a daring entrepreneur who already runs three Japanese restaurants in London, contacted me asking for a new portfolio for her latest venture, I immediately said yes.

During our first meeting, she explained to me that she was about to open a new restaurant in Bayswater, Central London. She was very excited as the restaurant would introduce a new dining concept to the city, the unique experience of Kaiseki.

This ancient culinary tradition evolved from the practice of Zen monks, who would ward off hunger by putting warm stones into the front folds of their robes, near their stomachs.

A Kaiseki restaurant serves a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, but layers the dining experience with an artistic and sensory journey, an odyssey of flavours, textures and colours.

Only fresh seasonal ingredients are used and they are prepared in traditional ways that enhance their flavour. To create an authentic Kaiseki dinner, the chef sources key ingredients from remote places in Japan as, without them, the experience would not be the same.

The zen atmosphere of the restaurant is another key ingredient in the experience. In Cocoro every detail is carefully curated, from the tableclothes to the lighting.

Working together with the skilful chef over several months, I carefully studied the unique characteristic of every single dish to create the perfect picture to transmit its beauty.

I wanted to highlight the subtle details of every plate, and after considering different options, I decided the best way to do this was to work with a soft natural light. It allowed me to create tantalising images that did justice to the beauty of his creations.

Wondering if I tried the food? I have to say yes! And it was… how to describe it? Mindblowing.