Yusuke Nomura

Owner chef
L’atelier chouchou

Chef Yusuke Nomura, owner of L’atelier chouchou, a“hidden gem” French restaurant in Setagaya, has been making the impossible possible and creating his own path with his own energy and conviction. We interviewed Chef Nomura, who has been using Akaito Saffron® for a long time.  (Akaito Limited, Yukina Owashi) 

L’atelier chouchou, Chef Yusuke Nomura

Born in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
1998 Entered Hattori Nutrition College
1999 Chez Matsuo Aoyama Salon
2003 Enoteca Hiroo Main Store
2006 Head Chef, Bon Champ, Ginza
2012 Head Chef, Papier Dore, Shibuya
2016 Opened L’atelier chouchou in Yotsuya-3chome
2019 Moved to current location in Sakura, Setagaya-ku

L’atelier chouchou, an intimate bistro with only ten seats, is tucked away in Sakura, Setagaya-ku. Owner-chef Yusuke Nomura has been serving new cuisine that is sublime, yet out of the ordinary. In addition to managing L’atelier chouchou, he is active in several fields, consulting and teaching cooking classes among them. 


Chef Nomura’s culinary journey began at an early age. His parents were busy clothing designers, and as a child he spent much of his time with the babysitter and his grandmother.  He began cooking   by himself to feed his sister who was three years younger than him, and already felt the joy of making others happy. He made a Mother’s Day dish when he was in junior high school, which led his father to take him to Chez Matsuo on his fifteenth birthday. He was so impressed by the food there and he thought, “I definitely want to work at Chez Matsuo in the future.” The following year, he began working part-time as a dishwasher at “Yoshoku Ya B.” While there, he wanted to learn how to cook so he asked his boss directly, “Please teach me how to cook, even if you only pay me half the hourly wage,” and learned the basics of cooking, including the preparation of ingredients. 

He then entered Hattori Nutrition College in 1998 to pursue his culinary career. He decided to specialize in French cuisine, moved by the sauce made by a professor as well as by the depth of French cuisine. However, Chez Matsuo, which he had hoped to find employment at, was not in the list of restaurants to where his college could refer graduates. He negotiated directly with the school principal, and the following year, he successfully joined Chez Matsuo. Finally, he could work in the kitchen of this famous restaurant he had dreamed about, but the environment turned out to be much harsher than he had imagined. “Every single one of my colleagues at the time quit. Looking back on those days,” he said, “the reason I was able to continue working there was because the chef’s food was really delicious.” 

Chef Nomura shared with us story of when he made mabo nasu (fried eggplant with Chinese chili sauce) for the colleagues as the moment when he made made up his mind to pursue his path as a chef. The dish he cooked was not well received by those around him. His boss called him to the chef’s room and told him, “If you want to be a top chef, you have to make top-notch food no matter what you cook. You have to be able to make every dish delicious. You have to go and eat more food to learn.” On his limited salary, he visited a high-class Chinese restaurant to study. Hearing his name at the door, he was taken to a private room and served a series of course meals that he had not ordered. When he was about to pay the bill, he learned that his boss had paid for him. Tears filled his eyes. This incident solidified his resolution as a chef and completely changed his attitude toward cooking. 

Chef Nomura started to learn much more enthusiastically about all the dishes. He spent several hours researching before preparing a Japanese dish to serve for his colleagues’ meal, and gradually was able to serve dishes that grew to become regarded by the people around him. The senior chefs who observed his efforts started to teach him more and more.  After learning various things there, he became independent and opened L’atelier chouchou in Yotsuya-3chome in 2016. 

Facing customers and constantly evolving

Chef Nomura says, “The most rewarding part of my job is making customers happy.” He observes customers’ posture, facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to understand their needs. Without being asked, he would serve to satisfy them. To create “a restaurant where the chef can face each customer one by one,” he moved from a restaurant with 30 seats to a ten-seat restaurant in Sakura, Setagaya-ku. He emphasizes the importance of how to express his cuisine within the needs of his customers, and says, “I want to offer my thoughts to my customers. I cook for the people in front of me. I pour love into it,” he says. This way, Chef Nomura will continue to impress customers with his delicious food and attention to detail. 

He values continuous effort without getting tired of what he does, and for that he always trys to start something new. He says that he is constantly evolving, paying attention not only to the food, but also to the service and even to each plate used to serve the food. He said his goal for the future is to expand the scope of his business, not only at his own restaurant, but also by utilizing the experience he has gained and getting involved with more people. 

—  If you could meet your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give him?

“I would tell him to go to school (laughs). I only took French cooking classes, but I had a hard time because of that later on. Getting the job you wanted is not the goal, but it is just the beginning. I misunderstood it as the goal at that time.”

—  What advise do you have for people who aspire to be the chefs?

“The basics are the most important thing. Small things such as whether the vegetables you use are drained properly and chopped to the right size evenly. All of these things lead to the good service for the customers and ultimate satisfaction. There are hundred times more things to learn than what you think.”

― About Akaito Saffron® 

Chef Nomura, who has cooked many French dishes, has been using foreign saffron for a long time, and when we asked him what he thought of Akaito Saffron®, which he has been using for two years, he replied, “I can’t go back to other saffron. It is not cheap, but the aroma, the tangy bitter taste, and the length of the stigmas are wonderful. I offer it to my customers with a story to tell.” 

Terrine of summer vegetables. Akaito Saffron® is used in the sauce. L’atelier chouchou holds a themed event every two months.


L’atelier chouchou

1F Utopia Heights, 3-8-16 Sakura, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 

French Cooking Class

Beginners’ course: Once a month on Mondays from 11:30 to 14:00 
Advanced course: Once a month, Wednesday, 11:00-14:00
Private lessons 100,000 yen and up [even for several people at home].

Menu production for restaurants, bars, etc. 
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