Some of the best Italian restaurants can be found in Tokyo, helmed by Italian-speaking Japanese chefs with Michelin stars.
You don’t have to go to Tokyo to experience all that.
Now there’s OChre at Orchard Central with a chef young girls go to ogle at – Kentaro Torii.
Born in Yokohama, the capital city of Kanagawa prefecture, Torii attended culinary school and worked in a Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant. Impassioned by Italian culture and food, he left for Florence at the age of 20 to learn the language and everything he could about the country. He then moved to the city of Pavia, in Lombardy, famous for its risottos.
Thereafter, he took his skills to southern Italy, Sardenia, and joined a celebrity-owned restaurant and learnt from the Italian chefs in the abundance of fresh seafood, transforming them into modern and exquisite dishes.
Armed with much knowledge, Torii moved back to Asia, and managed an Italian fine dining restaurant in Saipan before arriving in Singapore to make a name for himself in Tavolo.
After almost 3 years, he decided to spread his wings to manage his own kitchen and “jumped at the opportunity” to helm OChre.
If you want to see an Italian-speaking Japanese chef – complete with Italian body language – head out to OChre.
He’s quite a sight to behold!
The food does not disappoint – and I’ll leave it to other bloggers to extol about it – but what really amazed me when I dined there recently was Kentaro Torii himself, truly one of the more interesting chefs I’ve met in recent memory, definitely in the same league as the shy, young and talented Michael Han of Restaurant Fifty Three, (shown below) whose culinary masterpieces I was fortunate enough to enjoy at a lunch a couple of months back celebrating my birthday.