Message from the Chef
Welcome to our website. My name is Kazuyuki Zento, chef at La Maison Courtine.
I have been fascinated with food since my early childhood, and began to imagine what it would be like to be a chef at around the age of five.
On the deck of a boat, I would cut small fry with my fingers and wash them in the sea before tossing them into my mouth. Although it was not obvious to me at the time, those childhood moments would serve to build within me an interest in the connections between nature, food, and life.
When we learn about life and death from nature, we learn that a life is not something that is born only to fade away; rather, a life is something that is born to have its legacy carried on by the lives that come after. This concept is near and dear to my heart.
As a chef, my aim is to enrich and invigorate your life with all of the living things we call our ingredients, offered in the most uncompromisingly excellent forms.
Here at La Maison Courtine, we strive to make this a restaurant where our guests can truly feel that they are experiencing and carrying on the legacy of life.
La Maison Courtine is named for an artist who was active in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Both the name and the logo of the restaurant evoke the image of a house (in French, "maison"), symbolizing a restaurant that over-flows with human warmth and kindness.
Guided by the principle that cuisine should be simple, the food here reflects a respect for the ways in which ingredients pair natu-rally with one another.
In 1986, Yves Charles opened a restaurant called La Maison Courtine in Houilles, a small town in the northwestern suburbs of Paris. From its earliest days, that restaurant was watched over by a 1901 painting entitled Three Chefs, by the great artist Courtine. Now, that painting has crossed the ocean to preside over a new era here in Tokyo.
- September 1986
- Yves Charles opens La Maison Courtine in the Paris suburb of Houilles
- March 2002
- La Maison Courtine earns a Michelin star
- January 2007
- Kazuyuki Zento becomes Chef at La Maison Courtine
- November 2008
- Zento joins the two star Paris restaurant of Alain Senderens as poissonnier
- November 2009
- Les Papilles Insolites opens in the city of Pau at the foot of the Pyrenees in the south of France, with Zento as chef
- December 2010
- Zento returns to Japan to serve as Chef at I Vigneri in Roppongi
- September 2011
- La Maison Courtine opens in Asagaya!
Here you can see the cutlery with which the tables at La Maison Courtine are set. The table knives bear the inscription "9.47."
This simple, elegant cutlery comes from Perceval, an up and coming workshop specializing in knives, which many in Japan have yet to discover. Perceval is located in the town of Thiers, a traditional knife manufacturing center in the Auvergne region of France.
These "9.47" knives were created by Yves Charles, the original chef-owner of La Maison Courtine, in 2007, when he entrusted the then-one star Paris restaurant to me. During that painstaking process, he traveled back and forth between Paris and Auvergne.
That painstaking process of creation included the tempering of the metals at a low temperature, the perfecting of the knives' weight, the careful placement of their center of gravity, the balancing of the combination of metals used to make them, and the design of their shape and method of care so as to ensure optimal cutting ability.
At the end of the process, he gave careful consideration to one last aspect of the knives' design, namely the amount of shine in their finish. Weighing the effects that would be created by emphasizing or diminishing the cutlery's luster, he decided in the end to add luster to one part, and to eliminate it from another.
That we offer this cutlery designed by Yves Charles at La Maison Courtine in Japan today is a source of tremendous feelings of fulfillment and accomplishment for both Yves and all of us here. We place it on our tables with pride.
We also now sell cutlery. Please feel free to ask about it here at the restaurant.