Aaron and Risa first crossed paths in 2011. Aaron was from Daylesford, while Risa hailed from Okayama. When Risa took Aaron to Japan for the first time, she introduced him to the amazing world of Japanese food, culture, and everything the country had to offer.
Our journey began in Okayama, Risa's hometown, where we met her family. Even though we couldn't all speak the same language, we connected through food. Risa's parents were big food enthusiasts and loved sharing culinary experiences with others.
We visited Tagawa, regarded by many as the birthplace of udon noodles and the town where Risa's grandfather had grown up working in a traditional udon shop. We explored Japanese gardens, attended local events, and had the chance to meet skilled sashimi chefs, Tsukemono (pickle/preserves) specialists, and tofu masters. They were all so welcoming and eager to share their techniques with us.
Early on in our relationship, we knew we wanted to open a restaurant. We had no limitations on the type of cuisine or style of service; it just had to provide a unique and unforgettable experience for our guests. Eventually, we found that our take on Kaiseki-style dining best captured the path we wanted to pursue.
It took us a whole decade to refine our offering into something we're incredibly proud of today. We travelled extensively, constantly learning and acquiring new skills. We made frequent trips back to Japan, searching for an experience that truly resonated with us, something that hadn't been done before. Right from the beginning, we were determined to do it our way.
We are continuously looking towards the future, committed to evolving and providing our guests with an ever-improving experience. Working in Japanese restaurants has greatly influenced us, particularly in terms of menu structure and creating a holistic guest experience.
We’ve delved into our passions and identified what truly resonated with us: mastering sashimi, tofu, and homemade miso; exploring new presentation techniques; reimagining menu formats; and incorporating unique cutlery, glasses, and bowls.
Food is our canvas, where artistry, creativity, and balance converge. Respecting ingredients and embracing seasonal variations are key principles at Kadota. We prioritize sourcing the finest produce, giving preference to local suppliers. Our menus are dynamic, influenced by the availability of ingredients at the time of ordering. We are always eager to create new dishes when fresh and exciting seasonal ingredients become available.
We take pride in cultivating our own kitchen gardens, both on-site and off-site, with dedicated care from our staff and family. As time goes on, we have ambitious plans to expand our homegrown produce offerings.
Our meticulously curated sake collection is a result of Risa’s dedication to learning more and more about innovative brewers and producers, thoughtfully pairing each sake with our menu. We also highlight local wine, celebrating Australia's exceptional offerings. We cherish the personal connections we develop with local winemakers who share our values of honesty and integrity.
Kadota reflects the seasons, in presentation and decor, allowing guests to experience and understand the time of year without the need for verbal cues. We consciously chose not to adopt a rigid fine dining style, aiming instead to establish a personal connection with our guests.
Risa’s passion has always been looking after guests and leading our team. Every aspect of the restaurant environment has been considered, from music selection and staff demeanour to fostering a sense of being a guest in our home.
Our Kaiseki service aims to be unobtrusive, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in our dining experience.
Believe it or not, it was never part of the initial plan to return to, live in, and establish Kadota in Aaron’s hometown of Daylesford. However, our journey has led us here, and it feels like destiny.
Daylesford holds a special place in our hearts and is not too dissimilar to the area of Japan where Risa grew up. The region shares many similarities in seasons and landscapes, from the vibrant foliage to the rolling countryside and cool climate. This connection to Japan's essence is significant for Kadota, as a sense of place holds great importance to us.
Despite being just an hour away from Melbourne, Daylesford retains a distinct regional charm, reminiscent of the spa and mineral springs culture found in Japan—a perfect fit for Kadota.
This region's abundance of seasonal produce is unparalleled, making it an ideal location for our Kaiseki-style dining. Our admiration for Daylesford extends beyond its connection to Japan. We also aim to celebrate the area for what it is and its rich history, including the gold rush and other significant historical events. We carefully integrate these elements into the dining experience, ensuring that every aspect, even the journey to Kadota, contributes to the magical atmosphere we seek to create.