When I came across this delightful little chocolate shop as I was walking in the Marais, a stone throw from La Bastille, little did I know that I was going to encounter the unexpected: a female Japanese chocolatier.
Emiko Sano, the founder and owner of Les 3 Chocolats, is well aware of the peculiarity, as she says: “Being a Japanese chocolatier in Paris is just as bizarre as having a French sushi chef in Tokyo,” which, by the way, probably doesn't exist.
And yet, here she is, embracing her decade long French journey with no end in sight.
Back in Japan, Emiko is a third generation chocolatier and when the time comes, she will eventually take the helm of the family business, the Chocolate Shop.
Following the path of her father and grandfather, Emiko moved to France to train. That was ten years ago. Since then, she has become fluent in French, worked alongside some of the greatest (Olivier Bajard, Christophe Michalak, and Jacques Genin to name a few), and finally opened her own chocolate shop in the heart of Paris last year.
I’m amazed by what Emiko, being both a foreigner and a woman, has accomplished in Paris, one of chocolate's most competitive cities. She is a true inspiration.
Next time you are in Paris, make sure you visit her store and taste the “Japanese” praliné she created using kinako (roasted soy). You will be pleasantly surprised by her chocolates and pastries, which are made in the purest French tradition with a subtle Japanese twist.