"Kei" is Kei Kobayashi, a chef born in the Japanese city of Nagano who trained in the prestigious kitchens of three-starred chefs Gilles Goujon (L'Auberge du Vieux Puits, Fontjoncouse) and Alain Ducasse (Plaza Athénée, Paris). His father was a cook in a traditional kaiseki restaurant (where special meals composed of a series of small courses are served – akin to Western haute cuisine), but it was while watching a documentary on French cuisine that his vocation truly became clear. Today, his work verges on perfection: a virtuoso of flavour combinations, always spot on when it comes to presentation on the plate, he gives pride of place to high-quality ingredients. For example, Wagyu beef from Kagoshima (the southernmost part of Kyushu Island) –superbly marbled, with a plump, melt-in-the-mouth quality and a smoky and nutty taste, accompanied by beautiful pan-fried gnocchi. Poised to round off your meal in style, pastry chef Toshiya Takatsuka also likes to dabble in far-flung flavours, with his sweet creations reaching the zenith of true refinement.