Shishi-Iwa House brings together five chefs for a private culinary retreat

How does an environment catalyze the creative process? Can quality architecture impact emotions and enhance well-being? Can spark start from a place of stillness?

This was the impetus for Shishi-Iwa House’s first private culinary retreat, where five selected chefs were invited to bask in its tranquil setting in a nature sanctuary in Karuizawa. Shishi-Iwa House, a collection of three architectural masterpieces designed by Pritzker Prize laureates Shigeru Ban and Ryue Nishizawa, has become a favoured retreat hotel for creatives and aesthetes looking to disconnect, to be restored and rejuvenated. Its restaurant Shola, championing provenance on the plate in a way that is contemplative and contemporary, has become a popular destination restaurant for the surrounding prefectures.

Shishi-Iwa House, a collection of architectural masterpieces in a nature sanctuary in Karuizawa, brings together five chefs for a private culinary retreat

Over four days surrounded by a breathtaking autumnal landscape, the chefs – Ricardo Chaneton (Mono, Hong Kong), Jordy Navarra (Toyo Eatery, Manila), Johanne Siy (Lolla, Singapore), Barry Quek (Whey, Hong Kong), and Griffin Coleman (Sower, Lake Biwa, Japan) – will go on nature hikes, huddle over fireside chats with artisans, visit local farms and purveyors, and in the evenings, riff in the kitchen with Shola chef Masashi Okamoto, experimenting with local ingredients.

Shishi-Iwa House’s annual Culinary Retreat is an experimentation in collaborative creativity, exploring the intersection of architecture, nature, and gastronomy. The chefs were chosen for their reverence for seasonal ingredients, close collaborations with local farmers, and groundbreaking culinary approaches.

“At a time when chefs are under greater pressure, we hope this experience provides a much-needed ‘pause’ and an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by each other, pushing culinary boundaries while exploring the transformative power of nature and architecture,” says Shishi-Iwa House Founder Huy Hoang.

About Participants

Ricardo Chaneton – MONO, Hong Kong. Named “Restaurant of the Year” by Tatler Dining Hong Kong in 2023, 1-Michelin star and has been on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list for 2 years in a row. Recognized for being one of the most innovative multi-cultural chefs today, bridging Asia and Latin America. He champions indigenous ingredients, introducing diners to little-known produce from small producers in Latin America.  His European training – working as chef de cuisine at Mirazur, which was previously #1 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – rounds out his global approach. Known to have a soulful and reflective approach to cooking, he is influenced by music and craftsmanship.

Jordy Navarra – Toyo Eatery, Manila. Recently named the winner of the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, Toyo is the highest-ranked restaurant from the Philippines on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list right now. Jordy and his wife May have been known for their passionate work with local farmers and purveyors, unearthing and championing dying traditions. Jordy also enjoys a uniquely global following as he has been invited to do pop-ups with many celebrated restaurants worldwide.

Johanne Siy – LOLLA, Singapore. Recently named Best Female Chef at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, she has a solid pedigree, having worked at 3-Michelin-star Le Bernardin and Restaurant André (Singapore), and Noma. She is big on seasonal ingredients, champions greater visibility for women in the restaurant industry and is pegged to be another ‘one to watch.’

Barry Quek – Whey, Hong Kong. Singaporean Barry Quek made a lot of waves when he got his first Michelin star in 2021. A favourite of top food journalists who consider him “so underrated yet very talented,” Barry’s progressive interpretation of Singaporean flavours has gotten rave reviews. A passion for foraging and fermentation is reflected in his cuisine.

Coleman Griffin – Sower, Japan.  Coleman Griffin is a California native who started cooking in restaurants in the Los Angeles area. At the age of 18, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. Upon graduation, formative years were spent under Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood. Shortly thereafter, four years were spent at Corey Lee’s Benu, in San Francisco. In 2019, they found themselves at Tokyo’s INUA– a sister restaurant to Copenhagen’s famed Noma. Combining worldly influence, innovation, and respect for craft – SOWER allows guests to experience products from the Kohoku region in a unique but comforting way.

Masashi Okamoto – Shola, Japan. Seasonal. Local. Bold. Imaginative. These words fit easily with the contemporary culinary innovations of our in-house Executive Chef Masashi Okamoto. He is renowned for offering a richly experiential food journey for guests, serving creations that are visually striking and deeply in tune with nature. Former head chef at a leading hotel in Tokyo, Chef Masa moved to Karuizawa in 2022 to helm Shola.

Shishi-Iwa House, a collection of architectural masterpieces in a nature sanctuary in Karuizawa, brings together five chefs for a private culinary retreat

About Shishi-Iwa House

Shishi-Iwa House is an international hospitality brand deeply rooted in Japan.  It is a collection of intimate crafted retreats, fusing a mastery of contemporary architecture, design, and art with culinary tastemaking and a deep connection with nature. Shishi-Iwa House is a sponsor of sustainability architecture and its positive impacts on human emotions and the environment.  Shishi-Iwa House’s first retreat is in the national parks of Karuizawa where it is home to three architectural masterpieces. SSH No.01 and SSH No.02 by Shigeru Ban; and SSH No.03 by Ryue Nishizawa.  SSH No.04 by another Pritzker Prize laureate Kazuyo Sejima is scheduled to open in 2025 in Hakone Japan. International locations are currently being planned for openings thereafter.

Shishi-Iwa House, a collection of architectural masterpieces in a nature sanctuary in Karuizawa, brings together five chefs for a private culinary retreat

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