Galicia…the secret from Northern Spain

Playa de las Catedrales Galicia/ we made a bread inspired by these amazing rocks ( you will see below this article in the food presentation )

My love for spain is huge and every part of spain is loveable to me and dear for each uniqueness contained in the different culinary traditions, and for its unique qualities in nature and what each part of spain specialises in producing.

Above all of course I love the people and as mentioned many times before I have never encountered such a passionate and forward thinking country as well as active and pulsating food movement in my life.

Spain no doubt is a very important culinary force in the world in regards of Producers, Companies, Restaurant specialists, Restaurants, Conferences and Chefs. It is aw inspiring. I have a very special love also for all the small producers across spain.

In particular I want to talk about Galicia for also many reasons. For me the potential of Galicia is huge.

Relatively still unknown to the masses for what tremendous culinary treasures truly lies within this region, is an exiting prospect for me.  To be involved with many different culinary sectores is a big challenge and opportunity inorder to open the future possibilities.

I have very special relationships with people from the hart from Galicia as well.

Javier Ollero, Ni Lenette, Pepe Solla in London 2012

I feel as if  I am the adopted chef by the Nove group ( by Pepe Solla  from Solla Restaurant and Javier Olleros from Culler de Pau) on mission to support the awareness of the culinary culture in Galicia .

I have never been so warmly and openly received and it is really important for me to develop future projects and dialogues as well as investigations together.

Without doubt Galicia deserves its place amongst all the other great regions in Spain to be recognised for its esence of greatness world wide.

As a Japanese specialist chef I always felt isolated having to work here in london so far from the pacific and Japan.

Japanese Kaiseki Cuisine in essence is about working with your natural environment  and all focus is on the seasos. If this environment changes you need to adapt.

It is not right in my opinion to fly things from japan to cook in london. To some degree this is impossible to avoid completely however it should be minimised.

This initial issue was what brought me to Spain in the first place and I have been travelling and researching 2 years in all the different areas of spain to find products and every element that is usually important in keiseki cuisine japan. My findings were that there is huge potential but also a lot of work involved.

The work is to set up specific productions and resources to customise the techniques and to develop them to be suitable for kyoto cuisine.

It can not be kyoto kaiseki it will become something new however it will be based on ancient traditional principles to not loose the essential essence of Kyoto in spirit. That is important.

Products from the uk which are all good have never lent themselves easily to the japanese cuisine I am developing due to plancton and earth constitutions as well as climate and water issues.

On my first visit to Galicia I saw it straight away. The flavours the food blew me away. They have so many incredible small producers all creating incredible products all of which have inspired me tremendously.

I therefor am involved with many parties as my personal research and needs are not just for my self but is a collaboration that is beneficial to many everyone that are involved. This will of course take some time and small steps at a time.

I am currently initiating several projects with Galicia that are and have become particularly close to my hart since visiting this incredible natural countryside.

The land is so rich and produces incredible vegetables, galicia of course is famously known for it’s fish and seafood as well as wine, meat and cheeses amongst many other unique culinary treasures.

I am initiating a new platform of discussions involving relevant research partys and scientists hopefully from Japan and Galicia in conjunction with the young generation of fishery’s of Galicia supported by Galician university’s and  research, inorder to develop and contribute new and inspiring visions for Galicia’s fishing industry’s future.
I also would like to talk about a very important agricultural preservation project of old traditional Galician methods and preserving ancient galician master seeds for the future of Galicia.
Both subjects I am seeing from a Japanese point of view as it is compatible principals and very helpful for both industries in particular.
There is also a need to encourage the small producers all across Galicia to preserve and practice there traditions and production methods of food for the future generations to come.
Here is a small event that we were part of which symbolises the first initial steps to build awareness and new projects with Galicia. I was working with Ana and Theresa from Taste of Spain who will collaborate with NOVE group Galicia myself in creating some very interesting pop up sessions in London.
The idea is to invite a different chef each time and to create an intimate evening presenting the different unique styles of the chefs and the Galician culinary treasure products. I sometime will collaborate and create a special evening that is inspired by japanese kyoto principles but with one of the Galician Chefs with Galician products as well. Eventually this can lead to also other chefs that are interested to join these collaborations.
Nove group Galicia, the young generation of Michelin Chefs from Galica.
The first beginning of dialogue between Galician producers here in the uk.
This is a small report of the event : Galicia…the secret from Northern Spain
I was invited as a Speaker together with Ana Gomez and Theresa Holmes from Flavours of Spain
My contribution to the conversation which was a congregation of Galician food producers, was my perspective as a chef and particularly my story of being a japanese chef and my affinity with the galician seafood, fish, wine and vegetables amongst other things.
I spoke of the Nove group and the need to collaborate on many levels in order to widen the awareness of the culinary treasures of Galicia by working together.
There are more humans then ever on the planet and therefor the competition to be acknowledged is harder then ever. Appearing as a small individual chef or producer is going to drown therefor unity, projects, collaborations need to be supported and created inorder to open the doors effectively.
I would say that Pepe Solla is perhaps the most international actieve galician chef and it would be great to support this activity showcasing the NOVE group here in london in collaboration with many other Galician and other persons, chefs and businesses inorder to get collectively exited about Galicia.
Most of the food was provided by the producers wanting the potential buyers to taste there products to give only a small sample taste of Galicia.
Ana and Theresa could not cook anything at the event as there was no kitchen however we managed to put a few simple things together fot his event. Ana Gomez and Theresa Holmes from Flavours of Spain put the additional food offer together and I helped to do what ever was needed. We had a great day together and are exited about tall he future projects that lay ahead of us in collaboration of many people.

Ana’s Homemade Nori Bread
This is Ana’s traditional Squid Empanada with a black ink sauce and the thinnest pastry! This was so delicious!
Squid ink bread also Homemede and super thin inspired by the  rocks from Playa de las Catedrales Galicia (see picture at beginning of this article)
The squid ink  crispy bread was also good with the cheeses drizzled with very fruity olive oil

Black squid ink bread with sea spaghetti quail egg black Hawaiian sea salt and a very nice olive oil
The star of the night of course Galician PULPO. The potatoes were cooked in the pulpo water and bay leave and onion with incredible olive oil and El Pimenton from Galicia
This is monkfish liver with sea spagetti and galician chive Cerviche style with the amazing olive oil.
All the participants were very sweet asking always exactly what was in each thing before trying. I cant wait to do another event with a kitchen and more fresh products from Galicia also showing some Japanese Kaiseki dishes made with Galician products.

Galician golden sponge cake with freeze dried raspberry’s

Ana Gomez, me and Theresa Holmes exited what the future collaborations holds.
We are so passionate we do this because we love it and we share this passion with many people that is the most exiting part!

This event was only the beginning and we are looking forward to doing things with the Nove group and with a Kitchen this time to celebrate the great food of Galicia.

Collaboration the essence and soul of creating

Collaboration is the key to creating anything. You are never doing anything by yourself. You need other elements or people to be able to do anything. Specially us chefs.

Nature itself is based on collaboration, life is a kaleidoscope of  natural collaborations.

Basic definition would be:

Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, (this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective — for example, an intriguing endeavour that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus.

Teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward for finite resources.

Collaborative problem solving with the goal of improving performance in current and future projects is also a benefit.

You can collaborate with anything it does not have to be a person. It can also be with nature or any other living element.

I started my early career initially as a art student in the Chelsea college of art and design then to train as a dancer with Imo Buhl expressionist dancing- Germany,  Martha Graham school New York, Merce Cunningham, Laban dace school London.

Immo Buhl Germany ex Martha Graham/ Marie Wigman Dancer – my first dance  and art education teacher. We were educated in music, art and literature as well as world culture and Macrobiotic nutrition.

Martha Graham modern dance pioneer and Mary Wigman the Expressionist dance pioneer
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Die Tanzende Mary Wigman 1933
Andy Warhol of Martha Graham 1986
Mercier “Merce” Philip Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009) was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of the American avant-garde for more than 50 years. Throughout much of his life, Cunningham was considered one of the greatest creative forces in American dance. He is also notable for his frequent collaborations with artists of other disciplines, including musicians John Cage and David Tudor, artists Robert Rauschenberg and Bruce Nauman, designer Romeo Gigli, and architect Benedetta Tagliabue. Works that he produced with these artists had a profound impact on avant-garde art beyond the world of dance. I went several times to New York to train at his school as well as Martha Graham in the tate 1990’s
Rudolf von Laban aka Rudolf Laban (Hungarian: Rezső Lábán de Váraljas, Lábán Rezső, Lábán Rudolf) (15 December 1879 – 1 July 1958) was a dance artist and theorist, notable as one of the pioneers of modern dance in Europe. His work laid the foundations for Laban Movement Analysis, Labanotation (Kinetography Laban), other more specific developments in dance notation and the evolution of many varieties of Laban Movement Study. He is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of dance and fencing. I went to the Laban School London  for 2 years before my final in Amsterdam SNDO

All of the above artists work is based on collaboration principles and this is were I got the appreciation and deep respect for the necessity to collaborate inorder to go deeper into the realm of art and its expressions irregardless of what form it may be.

My final master degree as a dance choreographer/ director  was at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten – AHK.

Holland is so open to the arts and very supportive more then the uk at the time.

This Academy was a dream come true for me as it is a world renown school attracting artist from all over the globe.

A cultural melting pot. The entire work and study was always in form of collaborations of musicians, filmakers, writers, painters, theatre and any Art form imaginable.

It was basically a laboratory and investigation tank for creativeness with many recourses and possibilities.

Secretly I wish I could do this academic years again, thats how great and liberated I felt, meeting new creative individuals from brazil, venezuela, croatia, russia etc. I was working 16 hours a day with many fantastic people on many projects as well as doing the school curriculum.

Now my main subject would be food of course, experimenting with as much collaborations as possible.

During my final years I was awarded a scholarship to take part in a project which was about the intercultural communications through the arts. This was an amazing project that led me to be in Indonesia for about 2 years working with many artist from different walks of life and local artists from Indonesia to explore art in all its form as a way of communicating culture and humanity as well as understanding without speaking each others language through the various forms of art. This was investigated through all the different art forms and as different colaboration projects.

Boedi S. Otong director of SAE, Teater
A theatre group in Jakarta that was established in 1977. This theatre group arisen from the Jakarta Teenager Theater Festival, which then developed into an ‘experimental’ theatre that was prominent in the 80s. Under the leadership of Boedi S. Otong, he applied tight exercise discipline and created a pressured atmosphere at every show. For the SAE Theater, the actors were not used to deliver dialog, but were the dialog itself. The props on the stage, tables, washbasins, chairs, umbrellas were as important as the human body, which were present as organic objects or only as props. Many of his works received the attention of critics, particularly during the performances of poet Afrizal Malna, who was dominant in proclaiming human alienation. In 1984, they performed the repertoire Introduction to the Ecstasy of People’s Deaths, which was followed by Happening Channel OO (1986), Biograji Yanti Setelah 12 menit (1992), and Migrasi dari Ruang Tamu (1993). Prominent actors from this theatre were Arifin Domba and Margesti.

Boedi S. Otong was one of the main collaborators in the cultural communications through the arts  project and we produced a whole body of work together with many other artists.

In a situation like this many things became apparent  that one may not see when you are working alone, One learns to listen, understand and as a result one can create in a much less ego centered perspective.

We were working in lage groups which is the most difficult situation and the group formed of no particular choice.

A real diversion of ages sexes and cultures as well as metal states. The most valuable observation for me that arose was ” likes” and “dislikes” creating a kind of uncomfortableness and barriers. The process of this then concludes that both are of equal value at first,   then of no value and finally of no significance what so ever, leaving me to experience everything without prejudice.

Another interesting factor of working with artists of a different form example a musician with film director, dancer and painter you automatically are more open and transformed, adapting to the different elements.

The dancer was responding to the painters dynamics that translated into a composition for the musician and that in turn was directing the way the film had to be shot and finally how this collaboration was presented.

Our final collaborative group traveled all over indonesia merging as much as possible with local tribes, people, artist and nature and of course food was also a really important experience throughout this 2 year adventure.

I can not live without collaboration however not many people can really let them selfs fully follow the collaboration feeling or essence as it takes very subtle sensitivities inorder for it to be manifested without any one person in particular to take over.

Collaboration is so different in essence then to listening to your own creatieve impulses by yourself as you have to comunicate with people and that is when things can go funny.

You are a group of people, all not sure were you might end up with this collaboration and the need to make it into something can certainly become an obstacle.

I believe it is important to have a starting point and to then go on this journey and that is what is the most interesting part, what happend on that journey rather then expecting a incredible final result.

Here is an example of the beauty of a collaborative journey of Spanish pastry chef Jordi Roca (pictured left) traveling to Lima, the capital city of Peru, to work with chef Gaston Acurio for episode six of the BBC’s Collaboration Culture series. Their artistic creations will be edible.

Adopting a Collaborative spirit is definitely a positive attitude to everything in life and I am always open and exited to hear from people who want to do something together.

Dont hesitate to contact me if anyone feels inspired to investigate possible collaborations.

I have created this blog for this purpose and offer many ideas reports to start dialogue with all different passionate individuals and walks of like.

The art and dimensions of food are open to be expressed just as universally and diverse as any other form of art.

I believe there are many new things that can and will be expressed through collaborations of cuisine, chefs, art, music, film, theatre, literature, dance and or course intercultural communications through the arts and food world wide. The possibilities are endless and wonderful!

The husband-and-wife collaboration team of Charles and Ray Eames were America’s most influential and important industrial designers. Admired for their creations and fascinating as individuals, they have risen to iconic status in American culture. ‘Eames: The Architect & The Painter’ draws from a treasure trove of archival material, as well as new interviews with friends, colleague, and experts to capture the personal story of Charles and Ray while placing them firmly in the context of their fascinating times.

(Just a note : people often ask me how come you became a chef from being a dancer/ artist?…… I was a student and was incredibly poor coming from a family with not much money. Most of my years of studying I was living on mainly toast and jam and the occasional an apple and sometimes when lucky I was invited to my south american friends who shared a more community eating philosophy. We used to all buy something very cheap look at all the ingredient and improvise a pot of food to share.

I had to consider also some kind of employment and the only job I was able to do had to be nights and therefor always was a restaurant job. Of course it was another way of getting fed as well. Apart from student poverty reasons of course I had a deep affinity with Toshiro Mifune and Kyoto cuisine which is the biggest significant point in my life as a chef however I was too young and needed to ensure I had some sort of education and arts was of course my biggest interest. I will write a separate article on this.

Due to malnutrition and dancing for years, my body was very weekend, overused and brittle and I incurred a very serious injury that was so severe it refrained me from using my body as a dancer ever again. I was told if I continue I would have to suffer , especially as an older person in the future in constant pain and with physical problems. It was a hard decision and this is when I redirected all my energies into becoming a chef. It was not an easy decision to make at that time as I was not fully aware that I can be exactly the same person as I was hoping to be doing the same thing just using food as my main subject. )