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Owner's Voice Vol.16 "Il Aoyama" Owner Chef Naoyuki Aoyama

Toyo Kitchen" in the kitchen.
The famous Italian restaurant choice that captivates gourmets.

Il Aoyama" is a famous restaurant in Nagoya that attracts the support of many food connoisseurs for its Japanese-style Italian cuisine that focuses on the season and brings out the flavors of the ingredients with a delicate sensibility.
Owner-chef Naoyuki Aoyama will relocate the restaurant in the city in January 2024, 10 years after its opening.
This time, we covered the new restaurant, which houses the Toyo Kitchen Style "BAY".

Toyo Kitchen" in the kitchen.<br>The famous Italian restaurant choice that captivates gourmets.

The world view of "Il Aoyama" created by connecting colors and materials

When you walk through the approach guided by indirect lighting, you will find yourself in a sophisticated space decorated in subdued tones.
The luxurious counter made of a single piece of walnut wood seats nine people in a spacious arrangement.
In front of it spreads a neat and beautiful open kitchen.

According to Mr. Aoyama, "The open kitchen style of preparing food in front of customers is unchanged from the previous restaurant, but we have brushed up each and every item placed in the space in the new restaurant.
The product chosen was "BAY Stone Dark" by Toyo Kitchen Style.

What is striking is that BAY, with its stone dark panels and stainless steel titanium worktop, blends perfectly with the rest of the cooking equipment.
In fact, that was our goal.
I wanted to create a space where the kitchen equipment, cooking utensils, furniture, and tableware are all integrated into a single space, rather than one thing making a statement.
The serene and well-organized space is a high-quality stage set for guests to enjoy the food even more.

The interior space of the restaurant spreads out beyond the narrow approach.

Toyo Kitchen Style selected based on design x functionality

Aoyama says that when building his new restaurant, he drew his own 1/100 scale plans and had a house builder reproduce them for him.
I am the type of person who wants to do everything that can be made from scratch by myself.
For this restaurant as well, I had to think and decide everything myself, from finding the color of the walls and the wood for the counter to how BAY would fit in the kitchen and how it would harmonize with the other cooking equipment in the kitchen," he says.

To achieve this, he studied architecture on the Internet and in magazines.
Before choosing products, I did a lot of research, including products that were not yet available in Japan," he says.
Among them, I thought that Toyo Kitchen Style's designs were overwhelmingly wonderful.
I also found out that they carry Gaggenau high-calorie burners, which I really wanted to use, so I decided to give them a try.

True to his word, the kitchen "bay" is equipped with two built-in Gaggenau high-calorie burners that can be adjusted in 12 steps from 6000W to 300W.
In our restaurant, where the flavor of the soup stock is very important, the high-calorie burners are very attractive because they allow us to fine-tune the heat level.
It is especially good at low heat, which is very useful when maintaining the temperature of the soup.
Although there is a commercial gas stove in the back of the kitchen, Gaggenau is used most frequently by far.

The foundation of Il Aoyama's delicious food is to purchase the best ingredients from the producing regions.

Il Aoyama is known as a restaurant that focuses on seasonal ingredients.
Mr. Aoyama explains that the word "in-season" means "always in season," but the time of year changes constantly, and it also changes from year to year,
He says, "I communicate with farmers, fishermen, and people on the beach every day to check the current situation and purchase the best ingredients at that time.

There are still many interesting producers in Japan.
We find them, go and talk to them directly, and ask them to send us their ingredients.
Sometimes the relationship continues, and other times it is cut short because we don't think they understand what we are trying to do.
That is why there is no end to our search for ingredients.
I want to continue to select ingredients that I am satisfied with," he says.

The "BAY" that accepts such professionalism is equipped with a Gaggenau high-calorie burner and a 71 cm wide "2DS Sink" sink.
This sink is a compact type of Toyo Kitchen Style sink, but "it is still functional enough," says Aoyama.
We have two rotations per day, so we receive food for up to 18 people every day.
We receive food for up to 18 people every day, so this sink is perfect for preparing that amount of food.
It is very rare to find a sink this large, even for commercial use.

In the sink, he washes and peels the food, as well as prepares it for serving.
For example, in early spring, I heat the mouths of clams for bongolevianco with a high-calorie burner to open them, slide the stainless steel plate in the sink to the left, and remove the clams on it.
It is very convenient because a series of work can be done in a flowing manner.
And the stainless steel titanium-finished worktop is resistant to heat and impact and stain-resistant, so it doesn't show scratches or smudges even after hard use," he says.

The refrigerator was also raised to match the kitchen legs "AIR FLOW".

Finally, one more thing that Aoyama-san emphasizes is the appeal of "BAY.

This kitchen has legs on the four corners like a piece of furniture, so the entire surface is not on the floor.
That's another thing I really like about it.
We often clean the kitchen by pouring water on it, but this causes water stains to accumulate, so we have been using a robot vacuum cleaner for a long time.
The legs in the kitchen make it very convenient for the robot vacuum cleaner to easily enter the kitchen.
So, in order to keep the entire kitchen clean, we have raised all the refrigerators, work tables, etc. at least 10 cm above the floor in conjunction with the BAY.

AIR FLOW" creates a space between the floor and the kitchen that can be cleaned by a robot vacuum cleaner.

Mr. Aoyama, who is always sincere about his cooking, is equally sincere about his cooking environment.
Il Aoyama" seems to reflect this attitude.
When I told him that, he said.
I think about cooking all the time, even when I am away from work (laughs).
Thanks to you, I am now receiving gratifying evaluations, but for me, this is not the goal.
I can't see the goal yet; I'm still searching for it.

As if to switch his thoughts from cooking, Aoyama occasionally plays the piano in the restaurant.
I have learned to play the piano since I was a child, so I can play some songs by memory," he says.
It's a nice change of pace, and sometimes new ideas come to mind.

This sensitive culinary artist will surely continue to show us the world of gastronomy that no one else knows.

There are always about 300 types of wines to suit the tastes of guests.

[Hiring Items]
Door: Stone dark
Sink: 2DS Sink
Handle: L handle
Worktop: Stainless steel titanium finish
Faucet: Tallboy (with hose)
Heating equipment: Gaggenau 1 high-calorie burner (2 units)

Mr. Naoyuki Aoyama
Born in 1978 in Aichi Prefecture. After graduating from university, he studied at a traditional Tuscan restaurant for more than 10 years. Later, after working as a chef at a famous restaurant in Shinsakae, Nagoya, he opened "Il Aoyama" with his wife (photo left) in 2014. His unique Italian cuisine, which is made with seasonal ingredients and the umami of dashi (Japanese soup stock), attracts foodies from Japan and abroad.

Il Aoyama
1-17-38 Tokugawa, Higashi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
(17:30~ / 20:00~ two-part system, reservations required)

(photo: Kentaro Isibashi / text: Shihoko Tomibe)

Previous "Owner's Voice" is here.

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