A woman of great determination, Hisae Kawasaki has made great strides in the restaurant world. Holding the title of Master Cook at Joël Robuchon inside MGM Grand, one of the world’s most prestigious restaurants, Kawasaki assists with the preparation of elegant French cuisine. Both hardworking and inspiring, she has come a long way since her journey began at home in Kobe, Japan.
Kawasaki started her culinary career after high school working alongside her mother and grandmother in their family restaurant. By observing their culinary etiquette, she developed knife skills and carried out preparatory work in the kitchen. From there she continued to grow and work in a variety of restaurants throughout Japan before moving to the United States in 1998. Settling in Oregon, her determination led her through 16-hour work days as she juggled back-to-back shifts at a local Japanese restaurant and cooking at the Hilton Hotel.
In 2004, she entered the world of French cuisine with a position at Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge inside Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. One short year later she was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime and joined Chef of the Century, Joël Robuchon, as he opened his eponymous restaurant.
She worked under influential Executive Chef Claude Le-Tohic as he provided her with discipline and guidance in cooking techniques and management. However, once Kawasaki welcomed a new baby boy into the world, she knew it was time to return home to Japan. For two years, she depended on her supportive family as she balanced motherhood and a culinary career. Although she was surrounded by loved ones, it proved much more difficult to find work in her home country as a single mother in the culinary industry. Kawasaki was also faced with trying to provide the best care possible for her son after he was diagnosed with Autism.
As difficult as it was to leave her family behind, she eventually moved back to the United States because she believed this country provided better support, therapy and funding for Autistic children. The decision was further supported by the culinary team at Joël Robuchon as they welcomed her back with open arms. Kawasaki was finally able to pursue her culinary career while also caring for her son. Her strength is reflected in her ability to raise her child while excelling in a Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant.