Kouki Ichinose is a pastry chef at Les Cerises, acting as the owner's right-hand man and assistant chef.
He is a handsome young man in his early twenties with sleek jet black hair and green eyes. He is skinny with a slender build. He is usually seen in his patisserie outfit but has been shown to wear nice clothes outside of work. He rarely smiles or shows expression on his face so he is mostly seen with an indifferent calm look on his face.
He is an antisocial person and doesn't normally express himself well, often wearing a cold indifferent look on his face. He is described by others as someone who doesn't really listen to others because he is in his own world, has skills and is handsome. Initially, he seems to be a man of few words as he agrees to look after Rinko, the new part-timer by simply saying yes and nodding his head. He has a blunt, condescending way of talking to people, as he observed Rinko and said she had a funny way of saying "Welcome" and that she was too slow at wrapping the cakes for the customers which could've "damaged" the store's reputation. He is not easily impressed, and seems to enjoy receiving praise and talking good about himself in a quiet manner, as shown when he casually mentioned to Rinko he has entered into competitions before and she said how cool that was, prompting him to grow a swelled nose similar to Pinocchio (which in Japan means a person is becoming arrogant as they are being praised). He takes his job very seriously and takes great pride in his works, so he was upset when people were not initially receptive towards his cakes as they didn't sell out as he expected and was happy when Rinko helped him. His antisocial personality also contributed to his misunderstanding that Rinko liked him since she admired his cakes and helped him, which he mistook as signs of romantic affection. This caused him to spark a rivalry with Takeo, saying he was better for Rinko than him and showing a more aggressive, loud annoying aspect of his personality. He began to boast more openly about his achievements and appearance which would suit Rinko more as she was cute and liked baking.
Not much is known about his past other than that he has been working as an assistant chef at Les Cerises for a while and has entered into a few competitions. He does not sell his own cakes at the store due to the fact he once tried but the cakes didn't sell out.
He is still working at Les Cerises. When Rinko started working there and saying how great his cakes are, he mistakenly thought Rinko liked him and called her his muse. He askes her to help him in a competition and tell her that if he wins, he would tell her something. After he wins, he confesses to Rinko, but gets rejected due to Rinko's heart belonging to Takeo. He accepts this and knew that she would choose Takeo over him.
Initially, Yamato and Ichinose had a formal relationship between co-workers. Later on, Yamato and Ichinose had an amiable relationship. Ichinose even calls Yamato by her first name, while the latter continues to address him by his surname with an honorific (-san). After Yamato expressed her liking for Ichinose's cakes, he gained the confidence to sell his creations. After meeting Yamato, Ichinose has gained the inspiration to create new cakes and has been friendlier with his co-workers and customers. Due to his change, Ichinose saw Yamato as his muse and convinced her to assist him for his competition. Ichinose mistakenly took Yamato's assistance and liking for his cakes as romantic feelings for him. Initially antisocial, meeting Yamato has encouraged Ichinose to express his confidence, such as when he confessed his feelings to her. Even though Yamato rejected Ichinose, he views her fondly, which is heavily implied when he named one of his new cakes after her. Thus, their relationship is significantly one-sided as Ichinose experienced tremendous change, while Yamato simply loved to watch him bake cakes and supported him.
Ichinose was very arrogant in his affection for Yamato, as he thought that he was perfect for her because he is good-looking and shared similar interests with her. Ichinose also proclaimed that Yamato only loved Takeo because she was grateful that he saved her and she didn't know that there are better men out there for her. After Ichinose revealed his opinions to Takeo, the high-schooler began to think that the pâtissier may have had a point. Thus, Ichinose and Takeo had a negative relationship, as the pâtissier's words ignited the highschooler's lack of confidence.
When Ichinose forgot his baking tools before his competition, Takeo ran to Les Cerises and gave the pâtissier his materials. Despite their rivalry, Takeo assisted Ichinose, which surprised the pâtissier. During Ichinose's competition, the pâtissier felt Takeo's strong presence as the high-schooler supported him. Takeo's kindness lessened the negativity Ichinose felt toward the high-schooler. Thus, the two have a much more positive relationship, especially when their rivalry vanished after Yamato rejected Ichinose.
Despite seeing Sunakawa nearly the same number of times that he saw Takeo, Ichinose has never questioned the reason for his presence or his relationship to Yamato. Thus, Ichinose's impression of Sunakawa is unknown. However, it is safe to assume that Ichinose does not mind Sunakawa's company. Meanwhile, Sunakawa was aware of Ichinose's liking toward Yamato when the high-schooler noticed the pâtissier staring at the part-timer. Even so, Sunakawa remained silent and his first impression of Ichinose is unknown.
Sunakawa was not fond of Ichinose's arrogance, as he believed that Takeo should have been the one being challenged by the pâtissier, not vice versa. Sunakawa also described Ichinose as "a bit peciular." If the two did communicate with each other, they would probably not be friends. However, it is implied that Sunakawa does not have incredibly negative feelings toward Ichinose, as he watched the pâtissier's competition in-person.
- One of Ichinose's new cakes is called Rinko, which was named after Yamato.
- In the last episode of the anime, Ichinose encountered a little girl whose name was also Rinko. Ichinose revealed that Rinko is a great cake, as he made it so people who eat it can have a happy smile.