Whenever I visited Ebisu Garden Place in Tokyo, some minutes' walk from JR Ebisu Station, I always noticed that stately building off at the far end. In fact, I took a picture of the establishment when I visited in 2014. What I hadn't known was that the building was in fact the Joël Robuchon Restaurant. I had heard that this particular place was in Ebisu but never knew where it was.
Chef Joël Robuchon passed away today at the age of 73 from cancer. Although I don't think he was ever all that well known here in Toronto, the local news channel, CP24, mentioned his passing which surprised me. During my time in the Tokyo area, Robuchon was definitely a known celebrity because of his restaurants in the Big Sushi and his Michelin stars which he wore like epaulets on a commanding general's shoulders. He also made a number of appearances on Japanese TV including NHK's "Asaichi"（あさイチ）as you can see above. In fact, I remember seeing this one episode last year from home as he and his assistant prepared pureed potatoes.
Along with the grand restaurant in Ebisu, I remember L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Roppongi Hills. Whenever I went to the complex to see one of my students in the 4th-floor cafe, I would pass L'Atelier since it was on the ground floor. I never went inside either restaurant or any of the other places that he had in Tokyo since I couldn't even imagine darkening the entrance of those places. Thanks to some of my richer and more generous students, I was taken to French restaurants a few times, but none of them were the Robuchon establishments.
On seeing the notice of his death this morning, I was wondering about finding a food-based kayo kyoku to talk about in tribute. So, a little look via Yahoo Japan revealed this song by Aoi Teshima（手嶌葵）titled "Asa Gohan no Uta" (The Breakfast Song). It's a whimsical old-fashioned song that was part of the 2011 Studio Ghibli film "Kokurikozaka kara"（コクリコ坂から）which has been translated as either "From Coquelicot Hill" or "From Up on Poppy Hill". With lyrics by Hiroko Taniyama（谷山浩子）and director Goro Miyazaki（宮崎吾朗）and music by the former, the song gives life to one of the most beloved daily sensory experiences: the sounds and the smells of breakfast being made in the kitchen while waking up in the morning. Well, as someone who has experienced both the Japanese and Western-style breakfasts being made in a homey setting, I will always appreciate bacon, eggs and pancakes along with the miso soup, grilled fish and freshly cooked rice.
I was looking for any YouTube representation of one of the episodes from Robuchon's old cooking show that used to be shown on the Foodies channel on Japanese cable. But unfortunately, I couldn't find it, but here's hoping that the above video will be appetizing enough.