A French chef has been chosen to work as a trainee in the country under a new visa program by the government. 20-year old Julien Verrat is the first foreign trainee under Japan’s new visa grant that aims to promote traditional Japanese cuisine globally.
Verrat’s training started on February 1 at high-end restaurant Kikunoi, located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward. The training is for two years and will feature courses on the basics and how to prepare “washoku” dishes in line with Japanese culture. The government has assigned “special economic zones” in Japan where foreigners can work as trainees under a working visa. Kyoto is the only designated zone in Japan so far. Fine-dining establishments in the area can allow foreign chefs to train with them for up to two years. Kyoto mayor Daisaku Kadokawa welcomed Verrat and said, “Cuisine in Kyoto represents a deep spiritual culture.” He also expressed high hopes that “Verrat will disseminate Kyoto cuisine from France globally someday.”
Verrat, who has experience in working for several restaurants in France, was also employed under a one-star Michelin-rated restaurant in the western part of France managed by his father. He expressed excitement with learning the Japanese culinary techniques and is looking forward to knowing the Japanese spirit as well, desiring to be a top chef someday. Owner of Kikunoi, Yoshihiro Murata, has high expectations for the French chef trainee as well. “I hope that Verrat will make a name for himself when he goes back to France and become the kind of chef who can influence cuisine across Europe,” Murata remarked.