I just finished watching this drama, and even though I initially did not plan to review it, I think it deserves to be discussed a little. This is going to be a quick review.
Tenno no Ryoribin, also known as The Emperor’s Cook, is a 2015 Japanese drama based on a novel with the same native name by Hisahide Sugimori. It ran for twelve episodes. The main character of this series is Akiyama Tokuzo, which was played by Satoh Takeru.
Sypnosis: Akiyama Tokuzo is a young man living in a rural area. He easily gets absorbed in things but quickly loses interest and moves on to something new. This behaviour continually creates problems for his family. One day while delivering goods to an army kitchen, he meets a chef who gives him cutlet to eat. Tokuzo immediately falls in love with cooking. So he decides to move to Tokyo to learn the craft. He later travels to Paris to study more about culinary arts. Fighting against discrimination and prejudice, Tokuzo becomes a chef at the Hotel Ritz in Paris. At age 25, he becomes the chef for the Emperor of Japan.
I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this drama. I felt like I was on a journey with Akiyama Tokuzo. Satoh Takeru is an astounding actor. I have watched him in a few movies, but this is such an intriguing and outstanding role. I clearly need to check out more of his projects. I already knew that he was a good actor, but this role completely took my love for him to another level. The way he showcased Tokuzo’s growth throughout the series was pure gold. Satoh Takeru definitely owned his craft with this drama.
I love how the story was written. We could see that Tokuzo did not achieve his dreams alone. His family, friends and mentors supported him along the way. Including every single person he met throughout his journey, whether bad or good, they all had an impact on his character. This also relates to real-life where we meet so many different people. Of course, not all turn out to be good influences, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn something out of the encounter. I also admire how his character never gave up once he discovered what he wanted to do in life. He stayed focused and knew that he couldn’t afford to disappoint himself or his family any longer.
There were a few times when I wished for Tokuzo to pay more attention to his family after marriage. My concern was later resolved during the time when his wife was ill. I could see that he genuinely cared for his family, but he also took his job as the Emperor’s chef very seriously. This goes to show that his character wasn’t perfect. He was a bit selfish and also had a quick temper, but these traits are what made his character intriguing.
The other two roles that really stood out to me were Tokuzo’s brother – Shutaro and Tokuzo’s wife – Toshiko. These two characters made me shed tears because of their love and support for Tokuzo. Kuroki Haru, who acted as Toshiko, is such a skilled actress. Her subtle and quiet expressions were always a delight to watch. She gave so much life to her character without ever saying much. I applaud her and I will definitely check out more of her works. Suzuki Ryohei, who played as Shutaro, is also another experienced actor. His delivery was always on point. His support of Tokuzo’s dream was heartwarming to watch. I am glad he saw his younger brother succeed.
Another thing I loved was the music. It was well placed, so it sparked more emotions for me.
Overall, I think this was a well-written drama. The story progression was perfect, and the screen time was well divided among every character. All members of the cast did a fantastic job. No matter the amount of time they had on screen, each role had a purpose and made the desired impact. I could see the effort made by the production team to ensure they got every foreign country’s scenario right. Also, most of the non-Japanese actors gave a believable performance. This was an inspiring and excellent series to watch. Therefore my rating for Tenno no Ryoriban is 10/10.
To understand my rating, click 👉🏼 Drama|Movie Rating Guide