Michel BRAS Kitchenware
It all started when Michel and Sébastien Bras, from Laguiole, France, and KAI Group, led by Koji and Hiroaki Endo from Seki, Japan, came together almost 20 years ago, to initiate a new project. Their common goal was to create knives that would satisfy the highest standards of quality. Up until today, that same ambition, curiosity and drive, has led to the creation of a wide variety of products aiming to turn cooking into a fulfilling experience.
Today, Laguiole and Seki both yearn to inspire the infinite possibilities of cooking, through products that are made on the principle that "good tools should not harm but instead, respect the ingredients". An idea that brought two different cultures together, and which you will grasp the moment you hold one of the products in your hand.
Michel & Sébastien BRAS
A visionary and a pioneer, there are many reasons why Michel BRAS was named the 'most influential chef in the world’ by 528 Michelin-starred chefs from around the world, in a 2016 article of gastronomy magazine [Le CHEF].
40 years earlier, in 1978, Gault & Millau featured the young Michel as a 'great historical discovery' after visiting an auberge in Laguiole village. Today, the unique cooking style which Michel has developed on his own, has not only influenced Western cuisine as a whole, but also the art of plating. His signature dessert known as Coulant, developed around the same time, has become the iconic dessert dish for French style restaurants around the world.
The most significant milestone was the way he elevated the modest vegetables from a mere side, to one of the mainstays of gastronomy. Close collaboration with local producers in Aubrac region, and commitment to local production for local consumption, are also major pioneering choices made by Michel. Vegetables and herbs being grown in restaurant gardens, to be added to the daily menu, is another of his early initiatives that went a long way, before becoming a global practice.
Son Sébastien Bras took over the chef position from his father, and has brilliantly maintained his three Michelin stars for the following ten years, without interruption. Then, having accomplished this feat, he chose to follow the path of his heart, with a cuisine and service that reflect his personal convictions, free of constraint. Since relinquishing his Michelin stars, his priority today is to offer the best according to his own values, out of respect for his customers who have made the journey for a table in Laguiole. Father and son have never stopped exploring their own path, and in which they believe. The Bras are not satisfied with just valuing the end product, because the process is just as important. Their deep attachment to tools comes from this natural conviction. Tools are the key to the vast universe of cooking, where their expectations are naturally high, and where no compromise could be made.
For over 800 years, Seki is known as the town of fine Japanese sword-making. The Nagara River, one of the clearest and most abundant in the country, the surrounding mountains covered with red pine trees, known to be thermally efficient as charcoal, and the vicinity of a war zone during the medieval time, are some of the reasons why Seki boasted a reputation as a town of outstanding swordsmiths. Once the country was unified in the Edo period (1603-1868) and warfare ceased, swordsmiths from Seki scattered across the country, in order to fulfill the demands for high quality swords, which had become a symbol of the samurai spirit.
In the late 19th century, the samurai class disappeared with the modern era, the town shifted its industry from swords to cutlery in general. Even today, more than 1,000 cutlery-related companies work side by side in a town of less than 100,000 inhabitants. In a town where the sound of hammering and sharpening blades is constant, the letters KAI particularly stand out. Today, KAI Group has grown into a global company with production sites in the USA, China, Vietnam and India, as well as sales offices in Europe, the USA and many other countries, producing a wide variety of products. Michel BRAS sits at the top-of-the-range of KAI Group's cookware, and is being made in Japan. Everything from the polishing of individual components to assembly as well as the final delicate sharpening of the blade, is done by skilled craftsmen on the spot, before being shipped.