Hiroyuki Sakai

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La Rochelle - Japan

Japanese Chef, Hiroyuki Sakai is known for specializing in French cuisine.  Longing for the “pure white chef coat and tall hat”, Chef Sakai first began cooking at age of 17.  More than 50 years has passed and he is still motivated by the opportunity to meet guests and bring smiles to their face.

Born in Kagoshima Prefecture, Sakai received his practical cooking training at Hotel Shin in Osaka, Japan, and Hotel Oriental in Australia.  His training also included basic cooking instruction from Monsieur Shido at the restaurant Shiki (Seasons) in Ginza, plus an on the job experience working in prestigious fine dining restaurants in Tokyo such as Coco Palms Aoyama and John Kanaya Azabu.

At the age of 38, Chef Sakai became owner of La Rochelle. His dishes are known for their beautiful tone of a color and the Japanese Kaiseki-Style decoration.  In 1994, he became a key culinary player in the hit Japanese television program “Iron Chef,” continuing his appearance on the show for nine seasons.  In 2005, he was awarded the Chevalier de l’ordre du Merite Agricole from Republic of France and in 2009, Sakai was named a recipient of the “Gendai no Meiko” (Contemporary Master Craftsmen) awards, honoring Japan's foremost artisans in various fields.

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