Le Passage Mohkan Shan, the French country house hotel and restaurant in its own private tea plantation on the foothills of the bamboo-covered Moganshan mountain in China, has appointed one of Asia’s brightest culinary talents Toyo Koda as its new head chef.
The latest move to establish the 40-room Le Passage Mohkan Shan as a real culinary destination in Asia, sees Chef Toyo bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from Japan, France and China across the hotel’s restaurants.
Chef Toyo was voted in 2013 as one of the Top 35 chefs in Asia by the San Pellegrino Restaurant Awards for his work as Head Chef at acclaimed French restaurant Franck in Shanghai. There he set up the kitchen, designed the menu and created the whole food philosophy.
“Toyo is not a hotel chef, he’s a restaurant chef – that really fits our luxury country house profile,” says Christophe Peres, owner of Le Passage Mohkan Shan. “He is all about the creation, the product and ingredients. And what Moganshan has is an amazing wealth of seasonal and organic products that Toyo has free reign to explore.”
It is in the organic meat that Chef Toyo is really making his mark inthe restaurant with the use of locally reared organic black and white pigs that are fed on organic vegetables to create a unique line of charcuterie products for the restaurant and retail. “We are curing our own ham, creating our own saucisson, our own bacon and sausages right here, “says Chef Toyo. “Guests can see a range of food items that have been crafted on the mountain from products locally-sourced and from across organic farms in China.”
Prior to working in China from 2007, Chef Toyo spent 13 years honing his craft at famed cooking schools, hotels and restaurants. First he began at L’Ecole Culinaire Tsuji in Osaka, Japan and Lyon, France, then went on to hotels and restaurants including Hotel Okura Tokyo-Fukuoka, Japan, Domaine de clairefontaine, Chonas l’amballa, Relais Loui XIII, Les Saveurs de Flora, Le Sens and Hotel Plaza athénée in Paris, France.
“Toyo has worked in some of France’s finest restaurants and has been on our radar for quite a number of years,” continues Christophe Peres.” Like Pauline [Christophe’s wife] and me, we share a similar food background having lived in Japan and France. Chef Toyo has a very distinct way of creating French cuisine that is more modern and light – and that is his Japanese background shining through. He keeps the traditions of French cuisine but brings themto the 21st century. With his knowledge of working in China and his work with local produce, Chef Toyo’s food is an amazing blend of the best of three cultures.”