Revelations: Kaori Simpson, chef-owner, Harajuku kitchen, Edinburgh

24 May 2023
Revelations: Kaori Simpson, chef-owner, Harajuku kitchen, Edinburgh

We delve into the life and inner thoughts of a top chef. This week: Kaori Simpson, chef-owner of Harajuku kitchen

What was your best subject at school?

I really enjoyed literature and European history

What was your first job?

I worked in my mum's restaurant from a young age, but my first ‘paid' job was in a vintage clothing and record shop in Manila

What was your first job in catering?

As I got older my mum gave me more responsibility and I managed a catering project for her

What do you normally have for breakfast?

Muesli and fresh fruit, but if it's cold, Japanese rice and miso soup

Which is your favourite restaurant?

There is a hidden gem of a café called Konj in Edinburgh. It is owned and run by an Iranian family and serves a Persian menu

What's your favourite hotel?

I like Hilton

What is your favourite drink?

An oat milk latte

What is your favourite cuisine?

It has to be Japanese, of course

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?

Offal. I love to eat it, but hate cooking it – I don't like the texture. It is delicious though, I love sweetbreads

Which person in catering have you most admired?

Yotam Ottolenghi

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?

I think I would be a journalist, I used to work for Asahi TV in Japan before I moved to the UK

What irritates you most about the industry?

Chefs who copy other chefs instead of trying to be original. Our industry is full of wonderful, creative people and it is not fair when someone tries to copy work someone has spent their life creating and honing

What's your favourite film?

Pretty in Pink, I absolutely love the soundtrack

Who would play "you" in a film about your life?

Kate Hudson – I love her personality

What's your favourite book?

The Sherlock Holmes books

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