Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2019
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- IHG hotel group, Jeddah; Shangri-la Hotel Bangalore; Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Creek; The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa, Japan
- Okinawa, Japan
- English, Japanese
On first meeting he comes across as a serious person, focused, and it’s hard to spot the playful streak in Chef Atsushi Yonaha. Except if one were to be privy to the photos on his mobile phone. You would then see this quiet and seemingly serious master craftsman in a weightlifting avatar, wielding a 50 kilogram tuna on his back, hurling it around his shoulders and also posing with it like a pro.
Leveraging this playfulness into the Far & East menu at Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru, Chef Yonaha brings in his Okinawan sensibilities and traditional Kaiseki multi-course training onto the stage, with an electric brushstroke of vivid colour.
"Far & East is a special place. The freshest of ingredients, infused with character and a special twist are the lead players here. Just wait and watch the theatrics," notes Chef Yonaha with a twinkle in his eyes. His lineup of ‘"funky sushi" is a definitive testament to this.
Chef Atsushi Yonaha grew up in Okinawa, where the cuisine has claimed global fame for its simple, fresh ingredients impacting life expectancy. The traditional Okinawa diet is comprised of very nutritious, mostly plant-based foods - especially sweet potatoes, which provide the richness of antioxidants and fibre, and this is what Chef Yonaha grew up eating and training in during his formative years. "Umibudo, a type of seaweed; tofuyo, a fermented soya bean; and goya champuru are some of the typical dishes of my hometown. You can wash them all down with awamori, a stiff alcoholic Okinawan rice drink.’
Chef Yonaha is a trained fugu licence holder and is one of the acclaimed league of chefs who must undergo two to three years of training. A fugu-preparing certification is a government issued license for chefs who have mastered the art of carving the fatally poisonous blowfish in Japan.
Does he miss the food back home? "I miss Okinawa food but absolutely love to tuck in when I am back home, often visiting fish markets in Okinawa and Fukuoka as early as 5:00 am. That’s when all the bustle starts to get exciting."
Though Chef Yonaha trained in traditional Kaiseki culinary arts, his vision for Far & East, the bold and vibrant Asian brasserie, is a bit of a departure from the predictable line of dishes.
"Japanese cuisine is a delicate tapestry of colours, taste profiles and fresh ingredients. We’re taking it a few notches up at Far & East and totally elevate the experience - and having a bit of fun along the way."