Greetings from ABITATO founder Mika Hisatani
As a Kyoto native living in Rome for more than 20 years, I have found my professional home among an international foodie community, in thrall to the complex world of Italian gastronomy. From newly opened restaurants with star chefs, experimental techniques and ingredients, to the centuries-old farming and culinary traditions in endless variety tucked away in the Italian countryside, my head buzzes with Italian food and drink.
For more than two decades of introducing Italy’s food culture to Japan as a journalist and liaison to to restauranteurs operating internationally, I have had the opportunity to work with leading chefs, farmers and food experts who continually remind me that gastronomy is more than a business; it is an essential expression of the social structure and cultural values of a society.
In Italy, many chefs, farmers and companies place social and environmental responsibility at the center of their efforts to achieve excellence in taste and quality. In connection with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), community and national-scale projects have been launched across the country, deploying the traditional systems of food production and nutrition to ensure a healthier planet and society.
I created ABITATO to bring much-needed attention to these Italian examples and to begin a global dialogue, especially in my home country of Japan, about the future of gastronomy and agriculture.
Italy and Japan both have highly developed food cultures and strong cultural identities connected with what they eat. From a vantage point between, and intimately connected to, both of these cultures, I offer ABITATO as a platform for sharing new discoveries and new common ground. For me, this is both the work and the pleasure behind the concept of ABITATO.
Born and raised up in Kyoto.
After working as a Manager of the Italian branch of the Suntory Group’s wine import trading, she became a consultant for wine and food importers. For over 20 years she has been visiting agricultural producers and wine events held all over Italy, and has been writing interviews and articles for many publications and media. She works as a coordinator of start-up projects for Italian restaurants in Japan, and has been collaborating with the Michelin 3-star chef Heinz Beck as his business assistant in Japan.
Since 2021 she has been giving lectures on Italian food culture to Japanese university students at Chiba university with IES Abroad, International Education of Students Abroad.
At the World Expo Milan in 2015, she was in charge of planning and interpreting for the promotional event of food and sake of Kyoto Prefecture.
AIS, Associazione Italiana Sommelier, Italian Sommelier Association Sommelier
Publications: ‘Italia Yasai Kikou’, Italian Vegetable Trip, Saitama Shimbun (ISBN978-4-87889-465-7 / 2016)