The accusations were unbearable for the honor of a Japanese who had triumphed in France. The family of Taku Sekine, a highly successful chef in Paris, where he ran two restaurants, reported that the 39-year-old chef had taken his own life as a result of the severe depression he suffered following allegations of sexual assault.
Born and raised in Japan, Sekine was a disciple of Alain Ducasse and other renowned French chefs before becoming a benchmark on the Parisian food scene. In 2014 he opened the restaurant Dersou, in the Bastille district. It offered one of the first menus to combine dishes and cocktails. Five years later he started another place, Le Cheval d’Or, dedicated to classic Japanese and Chinese specialities, albeit with original touches.
The cook’s family describes the accusations of an alleged victim on social networks as “slander”
Sekine’s family statement gave no details about the circumstances of death or where it had occurred. The text affirmed, with great bitterness, that the conditions of his death “were neither ordinary nor accidental.” He cited the publication on social networks and on a specialized website of “false indiscretions” and “slander”, a “campaign of destruction” that did not stop and that affected his relationship with his colleagues in the gastronomic field, who were on guard. “Taku Sekine, who lived for the kitchen, fell ill within two months and fell into a violent spiral of depression,” the statement continued. This attack on his honor and integrity was profound.”
The chef’s relatives stressed that a formal complaint was never filed against him with the police, nor were any proceedings opened. The statement ended up denying the reports that he had fled to Japan. “He remained in France, with his family, deeply linked to Japanese culture, irrigated with values of honor,” the note concluded.
The accusations against Sekine were launched by an anonymous netizen, who introduced herself as Canadian, on Instagram. She was referring to what would have happened the night of January 8, 2019, after an evening with friends in which she had drunk. It mentioned a “celebrated restaurateur and father (Sekine has a young son). “You entered my room while I was sleeping, you tried to sleep with me and you began to attack me sexually,” wrote the alleged victim, “I managed to get you to leave and you came back when I had fallen asleep. This time it was necessary for me to shout loudly – stop! – and for the person in the other room to grab you and make you leave”.
The editor-in-chief of the gastronomic website Atabula, Franck Pinay-Rabaroust, who published the rumors and the name of Sekine, was shocked by the “dramatic” outcome but said that the identity of the protagonist of the case “was known to everyone and everyone”.