© Fred Laures
Racine A merging of cultures

Restaurant Racine*

When a young Japanese chef sets to work in his kitchen in Reims, within a stone’s-throw of the cathedral, he becomes almost like an orchestra chef, his epicurean music resonating well beyond borders! Unusual sonorities for some, contemporary melodies for others…his creation bellows in this provincial town that was cradled in a culinary tradition where classicism is king! The restaurant’s refined, designer setting, smack in the middle of the town centre, is relaxing, the open kitchen, educational, and the apparent simplicity of the dishes undoubtedly whet one’s appetite. The table is rapidly crowned with a well-deserved Michelin star.

Born to be chef !

Chef Kazuyuki Tanaka Kaku has always lived only for his cuisine, with the sole exception of his other passion, football…Already as a young child, he adored lifting the lids off of simmering pans, perfuming the family restaurant. He inhaled the bouillons, soaked up the cooking techniques, already imagining what he could be when he grew up: a chef!

He rapidly did everything in his power to achieve this goal, which was not always a simple task, as he chose to forgo a formal culinary education. Kazuyuki wanted to learn hands-on, in the kitchen, at the sides of those he considered to be the great creators of flavour!

Between France and Japan

Seeped in both French and Japanese cultures, what was to become his sensibility gradually became apparent, and his culinary signature took shape in front of the stove. He chose to embark upon an apprenticeship with French chefs established in Japan, then returned to France and joined the team at Gill, in Rouen, and later with Regis Marcon in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid. Working alongside the grand master of mushrooms and wild herbs, he asserted his passion for natural cooking and a desire to satisfy his customer’s senses. There are no less than 35 aromatic herbs picked directly from his personal garden that enrich his cooking identity with flavour, the identity that he affirmed when he moved to Reims, the land of champagne. And it is not a coincidence that he chose the place of royal coronations to celebrate the sacred pairing of food and wine!  Today, his cuisine plays in the big leagues, a shrewd combination of textures, flavours, and structures… calf sweetbreads, asparagus and morels, eel and turnip, rhubarb, yuzu and salt, white chocolate, queen-of-the-meadow and lime… menus that don’t make grandiose speeches, but say plenty: seemingly simple, an ode to nature, due to meticulous research on the part of the chef!

Exceptional food pairings

Here, winegrowers’ champagnes are worshiped, like jewels, and are paired with the gourmet creations found on the menu! They are perfect companions to the chef’s recipes, sharing their gifts, offering passing epicureans a fabulous gustatory experience.

Thibaut Bega is the young sommelier of Racine (twice winning Best French Apprentice). A promising future lies ahead for this wine-tasting prodigy who composed a selection of exceptional champagnes, expertly choosing cuvees from local vineyards.

A unique experience for a maximum of 16 guests.