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Yuhi Fujinaga

Bar Basque

Combining his strong foundation of classical French cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe with the unique culinary experiences gained while exploring the Galician and Basque regions of Spain, Bar Basque's Executive Chef de Cuisine Yuhi Fujinaga showcases the contemporary and classic Basque dishes that make the region a culinary epicenter.


Bar Basque


How do you characterize your cuisine?

Spanish flair influenced by traditional and modern-day Basque cooking.

What region or ethnicity most influences your cooking?

In terms of seasoning, it is Basque, taking a little from the south of France as well as northern Spain. But the cooking styles, like the sauces and how we make a roast suckling pig, is a combination of Spanish and Basque.

What is your signature dish?

I don't like to call it a signature dish, but it has to be the crispy farm egg with olive-oil-crushed potatoes and a cheese milk.

What kind of food were you exposed to as a child?

I was exposed to a lot my grandmother's cooking; she was very international, she traveled around the world, she lived in Brazil for a decade. Her cooking reflected Latin cuisine, which she passed to my mother. So I developed a flair for Spanish and Latin cuisine with a mix of Japanese food. I was born in Japan, raised in Hawaii, and moved to New York to train under the great French chefs.

Have you ever lived or trained overseas? Where?

I lived and trained in various regions of Spain for three months: the Basque country, Galicia, Cantabria, Rioja, Valladolid. I also did a stage with Ducasse in Paris.

Is there an exotic spice or ingredient that you particularly enjoy using?

Espelette pepper, from the French Basque region.

Does the design and style of your restaurant evoke a particular place? If so, where?

The restaurant is futuristic, evoking modern-day Bilbao with the Guggenheim museum, and the contemporary city.

When you cook for yourself, what do you make?

I like to cook very simple food at home. Last night I made a quick vegetable sauté with seasonal vegetables from the Union Square market with thin slices of pork belly. I stuffed it into a bao bun, like an Asian-style taco.

Tell us about some trips you've taken for inspiration.

Spain, on a yearly basis. I also like to go to Japan, to check out innovative products and techniques, and the finesse of that culinary world.

What are your thoughts on global cuisine?

New York City is one of the few places in the world that can bring global cuisine to its pinnacle.

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