In order to be a great chef you need to learn the nature of things deeply and also learn how to think.
Many chefs go everywhere in the world to do STAGE work placement for free from one day – a year etc inorder to gain experience and also to build up there CV’s. I regularly read about young chefs that have been here and there traveling then making a restaurant. In japan that does not go down so well as training to be a very good chef is through discipline and long years as a apprentice . Being in a lot of places of high acclaim does not make you a good chef necessarily.
It is important to do these stages of course however the most important thing to develop as a chef is often overlooked and that is to develop an interest to try to really understand as much as one can about the natural nature of things and how to think for yourself. Ferran Adria more then anything really wants people/ chefs to do exactly this.
Nobody expects you to become a professor but the intention to try to make a deeper relation to the nature of nature is something that will benefit your cuisine much more then you can imagine.
You have to ask yourself or with others questions inorder to come closer to what you really want and need to know.
I just want to encourage everyone to look at water for example more deeply. Not just follow but try to experience Water and learn about Water if you are a chef or not.
How you want to do this is up to you the internet is a great starting place and see what you can find. Please send me anything that you might particularly find interesting and I keep adding links to this article for others to have a look at.
I will just briefly share some things about Kyoto and the significance of water in Japanese culture.
In Kyoto WATER is and always has been a very significant natural element that is at the center of Kyoto Ryori.
Kaiseki (懐石?) or kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理?) is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, and are analogous to Western haute cuisine.
There are basically two kinds of traditional Japanese meal styles called kaiseki or kaiseki-ryōri. The first, where kaiseki is written as 会席 (and kaiseki-ryōri, 会席料理), referring to a set menu of select food served on an individual tray (to each member of a gathering). The other is written 懐石 or 懐石料理, referring to the simple meal that the host of a chanoyugathering serves to the guests before a ceremonial tea, and which is also known as cha-kaiseki (茶懐石).
In Kyoto Dashi ( a very specific stock used for the base of dishes ) is a fundamental key to the hart of Kyoto Ryori and water is extremely specific as to what atributes it has to have.
Many of you may have read or seen japanese chefs from kyoto use Volvic bottles of water when away from kyoto.
Murata-san the grand master of Kikunoi in Kyoto has worked with local university researchers to find out the optimum method for making dashi by extracting the maximum umami flavour from the ingredients.
Firstly you need soft water, like the water they have from the mountains that surround Kyoto (the city is famous for its water which is why its sake, tofu and fu are so renowned throughout Japan). If your water is too hard, it won’t extract the best flavour which is related to PH values etc. Volvic being the closest alternatieve.
When Murata-san traveled to a book launch to London, he brought his own water with him. There was one restaurant in the UK that claimed they flew in there water from Kyoto specially.
So now, even though I agree that Water is fundamental in Kyoto Ryori, I also see the implication the information above could have on the environment if everyone jumps on the bandwagon with out thinking about this in more detail. One also needs to understand a little about the natural constitution of Kyoto historically, the wells, the sake culture, the mountains that surround kyoto basically something about how water behaves and has behaved in the past and present. Water always changes and adapts there are reasons for the water to have its unique “flavour” depending on what is going on in and around or what is influencing the water at that moment in time.
Is water really significantly determined by hardness or softness? The flavour of this, the hardness, is definitely very distinctively different however- what I want to really investigate is, the total capacity of what the miracle of water is and that there are other aspects to look at inorder to find the best possible water for Kyoto Ryori or for what ever you are wanting to produce from beer to Sake, Tofu etc.
There is so much more to say about the significance of water in Kyoto/ Japan and I will update as best as I can on my blog in the future.
Indeed there is so much more to say about WATER and our relationship to it GLOBALLY. Everyone has seen something about the terrible things that have and are happening to our water and the overfishing and global warming etc. and it is really urgent that we all try to do our best to get to know water on a more intimate and personal level no matter who you are. It is really overdue to recognise that water unites us all and gives us life itself and we need to take care and show gratitude.
Dr. Masaru Emoto offers prayers before shipping out boxes of “Love and Gratitude Water” to afflicted peoples of Japan effected in the afflicted areas of Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures in Japan. This is a great thing to do and it is importnat to collectively show our gratitude to our Water.
I wish we would adopt a global world water day tradition because it is an important practice for us human beings beyond anything else in life, to acknowledge what is our life force before anything else! It would be educational and awareness enhancing to all generations and it may help to inspire people to spend more attention to our WATER!
Water in my personal opinion needs to be looked at much more holistically and Ho2 is only describing water very basically and impersonally for example. Any isolated characteristic is only an aspect: so what or who is water?
If water is so changeable what is my relationship with water? As we are predominantly made of water we should know so much more about water, should we not?
What does the fish know of the water that it lives in? Probably more then us to be honest.
Certain instruments have made it possible to record the fact that within each water memory cell it contains
440 000 information panels! Each of which is responsible for its own type of reaction to the environment.
Water has a structure like a nervous system which reacts to any irritation.
Water in its NATURAL form in its NATURAL ENVIRONMENT is incredibly alive and has intelligence amongst many other atributes and I doubt that by transporting water in tanks abroad or in bottles that it is really what we should be looking for in our water. To challenge this I am suggesting more research and study of what the true nature of water is.
Were did water come from Theory National Geographic:
The next question is what is the water like were you are, what is happening to your water, why are things added into the water, should I test my water, were is a natural water source closest to were I live, what does water mean to you, what is your relationship with water, how can the relationship with water make me a better person and a better chef, how can I help to treat water more better………we need to have gratitude to water, water is our best friend and it is what connects as all and more!
From Masaru Emoto
Emoto Peace Project:
(Repeat 3 times)
When: Match 11, 2013
Time: 2:46pm Japan Time
*** Use this Time Convertor Link to find out what time 2:46pm Japan time is in your time zone. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html
Emoto Peace Project