Japanese chef Natsuko Shoji of Été in Tokyo is the 2022 recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award. Voted for by the members of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, the award provides an opportunity for successful women to be celebrated, whose dedication, skills and creativity set new standards in gastronomic excellence.
Shoji will be honoured as part of the 10th annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, broadcast globally on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Facebook page and YouTube channel, on Tuesday, 29th March.
William Drew, Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “Natsuko Shoji’s elegant dishes reveal her respect for seasonality, attention to detail and creative vision, making her a worthy recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award. With her brilliant aptitude for blending fashion and gastronomy, the chef’s creations embody the artistry of Japanese cuisine.”
Shoji began her career at Florilège, the Tokyo restaurant that has been a high-flier on recent Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants lists. In 2014, Shoji opened Été, a modest tart shop in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighbourhood, later transforming the space into a four-seat, invitation-only restaurant.
Drawing inspiration from iconic fashion houses, Chef Shoji developed a line of signature cakes, including her sought-after strawberry cake that takes its cues from Louis Vuitton’s Damier print. While the cake shop earned near-immediate global attention, Shoji was also honing her culinary craft at the intimate restaurant, whose profile steadily rose in Tokyo’s competitive dining scene. Été earned acclaim from both celebrities (David Beckham) and renowned chefs, including René Redzepi and Ferran Adrià. Shoji’s status as one of the culinary world’s emerging stars was confirmed when she was named the 2020 recipient of the Asia’s Best Pastry Chef Award, sponsored by Valrhona.
In December 2019, Été expanded to a six-seat restaurant, allowing Shoji to welcome diners into her exclusive eatery and personally serve her guests. The chef’s 10-course seasonal menu embraces both savoury and sweet dishes and showcases her meticulous approach and highly creative execution.
Accepting the honour, Shoji says: “I’m deeply grateful for this award and would like to express my gratitude to the people who have supported me. I hope to be a role model to other female chefs in Japan and trust this award will motivate them to follow their passions.”