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Chef Kunihisa Goto and his wife Vanessa

1-Michelin®-starred restaurant in Fontainebleau, Ile-de-France

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Chef Kunihisa Goto's Portrait

Kunihisa Goto spent his childhood in Japan, where he trained as a chef in Oita. With a passion for French produce, he always had his sights trained on one dream, that of working in France itself, at the very source of Gallic gastronomy.

At the age of 25, the young chef decided to leave Japan and live out his dream in France. Here, he accomplished a number of prestigious apprenticeships with renowned chefs such as Jacques Decoret at his establishment in Vichy, Philippe Etchebest at the "Hostellerie de Plaisance" hotel-restaurant in Saint-Émilion, and Anthony Valette at the "Le Pouilly" restaurant in the Seine-et-Marne department. Working with such prestigious culinary figures was a privileged opportunity for the young man to develop and hone his skills.

With a zeal for French cuisine and passionate about the ingredients he uses, Kunihisa Goto is a wine buff to boot. The Burgundy area was therefore the obvious place for him to build his career in gastronomy. He became head chef at the "Hostellerie du Cèdre" hotel in Beaune, where, in his very first year, he was awarded three Gault & Millau® "toques", as well as being named "Jeune Talent de Bourgogne" ("Burgundy's Young Talent") by the famous guide. The following year, the Michelin® Guide picked him out as being a promising talent with Michelin®-star potential, "Espoir 1 étoile".

In 2012, he embarked upon a new adventure: accompanied by his wife Vanessa, chef Kunihisa Goto opened his own restaurant in Fontainebleau,L'Axel. He was immediately named as the "Grand de Demain 2013" ("Tomorrow's Great Talent") by Gault & Millau® and, in February 2013, the Michelin® Guide honoured his work by awarding him his first precious star.

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Translucent egg

Culinary spirit

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Chef Kunihisa Goto creates cuisine that is simultaneously precise, exacting and full of flavour. He showcases his ingredients, and resolutely anchors the foundations of his cuisine in the French gastronomic traditions he holds so close to his heart; the young man owes it to the French foie gras, truffles, wines and cheeses that inspired him to train and work on the other side of the world.

However, this is not to say that the chef's Japanese roots are completely forgotten. They appear in subtle touches in some of his culinary creations, sometimes enhancing a dish, occasionally surprising the palate: shiso leaves lovingly envelope veal sweetbreads, a shiitake broth exquisitely accompanies langoustines, and Wagyu beef reveals its every flavour. This is how Kunihisa Goto revisits the great French culinary traditions in a harmonious play of flavours and colours; he creates ethereal, light dishes, veritable acrobatic "axels" that are as precise as they are surprising.

Among the chef's flagship dishes, discover the translucent egg cooked at 65° C, a preparation method inspired by an ancestral Japanese technique. With its apparent simplicity, this dish represents the culinary philosophy held by the L'Axel restaurant's chef: the ultimate respect for the product, which is enhanced by tried-and-tested techniques and an ethereal and aesthetic mise-en-scène.

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The team at the Palace of Fontainebleau

The team

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In the dining room, Vanessa Goto will give the warmest of welcomes. As the perfect ambassador of the chef's cuisine, she will be able to advise you throughout your meal.

The Goto couple is assisted by a young and dynamic team comprised of professionals who are passionate about their job and who will pull out all the stops to make your meal an enjoyable one.

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Dish at a restaurant with three "toques" and one Michelin star in Fontainebleau

Awards and references

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Three "toques" in the Gault & Millau® Guide

"Triple Axel for Vanessa and Kunihisa! For three years in a row, immediately after receiving the "Grand de Demain" ("Tomorrow's Great Talent") title, the little Fontainebleau restaurant has been awarded three "toques", and has become one of the most endearing establishments in this historical and artistic region. Its chef has maintained the same freshness he began his career with, and approaches his ingredients with the same humility. His menu reflects the market, but more especially, it is underlined by an elegance even when the ingredients are simple, with a generous touch that sometimes escapes Japanese chefs when seeking minimalism at all costs. Sample the €52 set menu, the epitome of this attitude: squid gnocchi and tagliatelle, spring onion purée and basil sauce, prime flank veal steak, confit aubergine, polenta purée and tandoori sauce, poached pear, green tea cake, and maple syrup mousse. Vanessa gives guests a very warm welcome, and the wine cellar is modest, but offers a good selection at fair prices. - France Guide: "Grand de Demain" of 2013."

Gault & Millau® Guide 2015, p. 287

One star in the Michelin® Guide

"It is said that around every deep spirit there continually grows a mask, and Kunihisa Goto, the young Japanese chef at the L'Axel restaurant, is proof of this. At first sight, nothing sets this restaurant apart from the others. But this could not be further from the truth! His cooking is a glorious twist on French gastronomy (sea urchins, truffle soup and langoustines), all carried out with finesse and subtlety.
Comté and truffle lasagne, brioche and truffle soup. Veal sweetbreads with a pistachio crust, spinach pasta and lemongrass sauce. Cinnamon crumble, caramelised apple, Speculoos biscuits and a praline sauce."

Michelin® Guide 2015, p. 688