The main man of well known restaurant Cilantro talks food, his secret to success and how it all began.

Cilantro, the acclaimed restaurant at MiCasa hotel, is home to a culinary legend in the country – chef Takashi Kimura.

Helming the kitchen for the past 20 years with brilliant dishes that continue to garner respect from those foodies and connoisseurs, chef Kimura and his team has dazzled Malaysian diners for the past two decades with his signature blend of French fare with Japanese touches.

Because of his efforts, Malaysia Tatler has awarded this soft-spoken chef with our first ever Tatler Legacy Award in recognition of his contributions to the Malaysian dining scene.

Despite being recognised as a pioneer in his field, this humble chef almost didn’t choose a life of chef’s whites and fine foods many years ago.

How It All Began

“I was supposed to be a policeman. I passed all my exams and while I just before I was supposed to enter the police academy, I could see a pre-planned future for myself that I didn’t want,” says Kimura.

And so a 20-yeard old Kimura decided to enter the world of cooking instead, learning how to cook the French way before being selected by the Japanese ambassador to Malaysia to become his personal chef and moving to Kuala Lumpur.

When the ambassador’s time was up, Kimura decided to stay on and received his blessing to apply for a position at Cilantro, as its head chef at the time was departing to start his own venture.

He aced the interview, started getting to work and the rest is history.

 

Cooking Philosophy 101

“I want my customers to enjoy when they come here. Not only just the food, but the whole experience,” said Kimura.

In his world, there are three main important things when it comes to cooking: the ingredient, how to cook it and what skills to use to achieve his vision.

Whenever he needs inspiration, he always goes back to these three core factors.

“I always start by thinking about the product itself, its character and taste, what I can then do with it and then skills I’ll need to apply to it,” said Kimura.

Tatler Asia
Above Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler

His Secret To Success

Despite having 20 years under his belt in Malaysia, the Japanese chef is still rather low-key and it’s not difficult to see why.

He prioritises refining his craft year after year instead of chasing food trends, a process he says is always at the forefront of his mind when creating new dishes and perfecting his signature items. Even so, there is another important element in his restaurant.

“Everything comes down to my team and all of us share our duties equally. It’s not about who is more important, everyone plays a part of the operation. Human relationship is the secret,” said Kimura.

Quite the humble individual, he believes in making the happiness of his team a priority. According to him, if his team is happy, then his customers will be happy.

Well put.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.