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Latest Megu Outpost to Open in Gstaad

Sunday Nov 25, 2012

GSTAAD, Switzerland - The countdown to the December 1 opening of The Alpina Gstaad is underway including in the luxury hotel's three restaurants. Two Japanese chefs are already ensconced in the first European outpost of MEGU, the award-winning Japanese restaurant that will introduce a new era of dining in Gstaad.

MEGU's sophisticated experience offers artfully presented dishes that are a modern take on authentic Japanese cuisine designed to bring out the best of the high-quality ingredients used by the chefs. Also appealing to the eye will be MEGU's interiors by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance who was inspired by the traditional houses and temple architecture in Japan in designing the restaurant. For MEGU at The Alpina Gstaad, he adapted some of the principles of Japanese design to the Swiss Alpine environment playing with filter, frame and composition, with nature as the common thread.

From its beginning eight years ago in New York, MEGU has been expanding to leading capitals around the world. In 2004, MEGU New York opened at 62 Thomas Street in New York's Tribeca neighborhood. Two years later, a second New York restaurant, MEGU Midtown debuted at the Trump World Tower, 845 United Nations Plaza. The brand has opened restaurants in Moscow (2010), Doha, Qatar (2011) and New Delhi (2012) and another is planned for Mumbai. MEGU recently received the Six-star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.

MEGU, which means "blessing" in Japanese, will combine antique kimonos, with traditional alpine fir wood and accents of vermillion, to create a sense of two different alpine cultures. Borrowing from the concept of different levels found in traditional Japanese homes, Duchaufour-Lawrance created an open, yet more intimate space. The sushi bar is on one level and a few steps above is the main dining area with a large communal table. Still another level extends up and out to a terrace where diners can take in the gorgeous alpine views.

An experienced culinary team will be led by Chef Takumi Murase who has more than 20 years of experience at luxury hotels and award-winning restaurants in Japan and the U.S. Chef Murase returns to the MEGU family as Japanese Head Chef in Gstaad.

Hailing from Hokkaido, Murase studied in Kyoto under Chef Isomoto, one of Japan’s most revered master chefs. After his stage at Eizankaku Kyoto where he performed Kasiseki and specialized in cooking seafood and unusual types of fish, he spent 13 years in California holding sous chef and executive chef positions at some of Southern California’s leading Japanese restaurants. In 2003, he was chosen as one of the first chefs to open MEGU in New York and later was name Executive Chef.

He subsequently returned to California to join the award-winning Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Earlier this year, he was tapped by the luxurious Windsor Hotel TOYA in Hokkaido, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, as Chief Chef of its banqueting department.

At the same time, another alumnus of MEGU has arrived to serve as Head Sushi Chef at MEGU at The Alpina Gstaad. With more than 15 years experience as a chef in Kobe, Japan, New York and Athens, Tsutomu Kugota has specialized in Sushi and charcoal grilling. Most recently he was Head Sushi Chef at NOBU Matsuhisa in Athens. Immediately prior to that, he was Sushi Chef at MEGU in New York for two years.

Chef Kugota began his career at Tonkatsu Musashi in Kobe in 1997 and held the position of Japanese Cuisine Chef at the Nishijin Oriental Hotel there. After two years, he moved to Tokyo to take the position of Charcoal Grill Chef with Food Scope Japan, the parent company of MEGU.

Chefs Murase and Musashi will focus on sourcing the most pristine and unusual ingredients. MEGU chefs allow the ingredients to be the stars. In its search for the finest and rarest fish, Kobe beef, fresh produce and unique condiments, MEGU’s culinary team regularly travels throughout Japan’s 47 prefectures meeting farmers, fisherman and artisanal purveyors. Satsuma beef from Kyushu in Japan, smelts from the Mukawa River in Hokkaido and hand-made tofu from Saga prefecture are among the prized ingredients in MEGU’s creations.

In addition to sushi and sashimi, some of MEGU’s signature dishes that will be served at The Alpina Gstaad include: Crispy Asparagus Battered with Japanese Spicy Rice Crackers, Yellowtail Carpaccio Chile Kanzuri Sauce, Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Fresh Basil and Sesame Emulsion, Silver Cod with Yuzu Miso. And for dessert, guests will enjoy Chocoloate Fondant with Azuki Beans, Yuzu Crème Brûlée or Wasabi Cheesecake.

For further information, please visit The Alpina Gstaad at



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