Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

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We are chefs in a very big industry and a world becoming more and more corporate as we speak.

However we are always going to be beings having a human experience. Loving and caring for  my colleagues is something I never can afford to not feel. I love each person on my team as much as I love the entire aspect of that which makes us human.

We truly are all here to have a human experience primarily and therefor I am only interested in relating, understanding, learning and working together with people, animals and our environment as a whole. I want to thank Jhony D, David Legrand and Sergio del Castillo Mora, Javier, Taka-san , Lou and all the other people that I have had the pleasure of working with past, present and future for all the experiences and new understandings it has brought to me. I know it sounds corny but I cant be without my team, it means everything and it gives meaning to my whole life. The service that I provide and the result of any creatieve dish can never fill the significance of that of the people in your team and life.

It is not always easy to make people believe in what you want to do and it is not about what I want to do but to have a vision that people can personally relate to and have trust in. To have people support you on a special journey to create something from nothing is one of the most unique experiences I have ever had.

This does not just accure everyday, it happens only occasionally and when this happens you really see interesting things happening. This is what I feel is the most interesting part of creating.

There is a very interesting thing that happens when a group is connected in that way, which l would describe as a shared consciousness were when a dish is being development people on the team endorse the trail of creation –  the technical side as well as the creatieve inspiration. It will manifest between all the key people and therefor it is a shared experience and everyone is connected to the idea and process which is important inorder to make everyone involved to feel alive and all this translates to the experience of the entire restaurant or event.

I come from a musical family so it is very much like the magic that happens between a band when they are creating and jamming or like surfers all riding the great wave.

Surfing a big wave is like becoming one with something so incredibly powerful and you are in perfect synergy with everything at that very moment .

It is this invisible energy that is so fascinating and that is behind all of creating.

There is you and others, there are ideas, culture, time= in the moment, seasons, tools there is a starting point and this invisible element that makes everything flow to a rhythm, making complete sense.

Creativity has it’s own intelligence and it manifests itself just as it needs to be. A true creative leader will be able to share and transmit this feeling with all the people involved in a project.

It is not always smooth but this is also part of everything.

I love to see this energy filter through every aspect my work. What excites me the most about being a chef and life-  is this and the endless possibilities of the nature of creativity.

When I meet chefs all I see is there potential and that is what I want to connect with the rest is a journey of everyday tuning into this potential. Many times in kitchens it is not like this and you are often nothing but a means to and end thats when chefs just eventually disengage emotionally and intellectually  You just lost that which can make all the difference to everything in your business.

Sadly most cooperate investors/ or certain kind of owners or even head chefs of restaurants rarely understand or undervalue this way of working. If they did then they would facilitate things differently inorder to support this way of achieving there goals.

Creativity between humans without jelousy and defiled lower emotions is the most fantastic and the most positieve energy we humans can ever engage with.

I am not saying we chefs are changing the world however this energy I am talking about truly can change the world.

Culler de Pau…the Chef that is always in the kitchen

The secret of Culler de Pau’s successes is with out a doubt the fact that Javier Ollero’s is without fail always in the kitchen. You be surprised how many head chefs/owners that are chefs are rarely in there own kitchens.

Not only is Javier constantly hands on, on every dish that comes out of his kitchen- he is also incredibly in tune with the entire sequence of everything he serves creating an overal intense and consistant dining experience like I have rarely experienced in any other kitchen.

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I usually always ask the chef to serve what he feels is best and it is a very japanese thing to do. We call it Omakase which just emphasises the fact of trust to a chef of such great ability to serve you what is truly going to be the best possible menu for you at this moment, taking in consideration your particular preferences and requirements. Below you can see Javier planing our menu.

I did not want to say what the dishes are as I think it is important to leave things to for the actual experience and the imagination.

This article is purely a commemoration to Javier for being one of the most diligent chefs and for always being in the kitchen at all times and his hands, hart and mind is on every dish that enters the dining room.

For me Culler de Pau is one of the greatest restaurants of our time and still very underrated. I personally feel that there are several restaurants on the worlds 50 best restaurant list that are not even half as good a Culler de Pau.

There are restaurants on this list that have 30 chefs working everyday and producing a good dining experience for a 40 cover restaurant ,however when I taste the food in Culler de pau produced by 3 chefs and 1 assistant chef for the same amount of covers it is absolutely  mind-blowing what they can do!

Javiers magic lies in his intuition and strong connection to his surrounding area of O Grove. He closely works with the uniquest of producers that reside in his area and he respects the true flavours of his ingredients in everything he creates.

He is a purist and I can really appreciate his work. It works and you can taste everything directly without any unnecessary interference by the chef. The magic is to know how much to do and when to stop. It is a subtle understanding that is refined through being sensitive and intuitive.

Working with Javier is a real privilege. He has a real humanistic relation to everyone he encounters in his day from his own family to the suppliers, his customers and his team. I want to thank Javier, Amarantha, Taka and Lou for being such a positieve force in our chef industry and for sharing so generously with me and Sergio.

Galicia is an incredible place and I recommend anyone to go on a culinary journey and visit the great land and enjoy the great food that Galicia has to offer. I will soon recommend a Galician Gourmet tour but for now I leave you with the the incredible meal I had in Culler de Pau.

http://www.cullerdepau.com/

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Thank you to Javier and Amarantha and…photo (3) (1)…..thank you to all the Culler de Pau family for all there hard work and this amazing experience!

Nihon-Ryōri 日本料理

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 17.09.48This is a painting by Sen no Rykiu called the intoxication of the moon-Suigetsu

I have been around Nihon Ryori since the age of 5 and was fortunate to absorbe the many aspects that materialises around this beautiful culture and cuisine which filled my hart with many feelings for the japanese culture and life itself from deep within.

I have studied and still am studying the living culture of japan and of life from may perspectives but of course having dedicated myself to being a Japanese chef, it is what I  am on a journey on , to constantly rediscover deeper and deeper, as to what it’s nature really is. Coming closer and closer to the essence of life  ultimately helps me appreciate the depth that lies within Kyoto Ryori and Nihon Ryori .

Many activities help me to find these connections to japanese cuisine. Nature is the most prominent of teachers and following this root definitely brings you very close to the essence of japanese cuisine.

Tea ceremony is a wonderful aspect to practice as well as Ikebana, Kyudo, pottery, poetry and reading as well as meditation are all examples of things that help to study this beautiful cuisine.

Kyoto Ryori having its roots in the tea ceremony and by the 16th century, tea drinking had spread to all levels of society in Japan. Sen no Rikyū , is perhaps the most well-known—and still revered—historical figure in tea ceremony, followed his master Takeno Jōō‘s concept of ichi-go ichi-e, a philosophy that each meeting should be treasured, for it can never be reproduced. His teachings perfected many newly developed forms inarchitecture and gardensart, and the full development of “the “way of tea”. The principles he set forward—harmony (和 wa?), respect (敬 kei?), purity (清 sei?), and tranquility (寂 jaku?)—are still central to tea ceremony.

The tea ceremony has its influences from Buddhism and Shinto aspects reflecting that it is not the object that we perceive itself that is so fascinating but what we want to cultivate and find within!

“Though many people drink tea,

if you do not know the Way of Tea,

tea will drink you up.”

Human being in tune with the universe- to better oneself and living in line with the ultimate potential that is limitless through the way of tea.

This is just brief. The japanese works of cultural documents are to vast to mention in detail in this short blog but you will find many references and I encourage you to study.

The discipline of japanese cuisine is intense but this is another aspect which I will write about another time.

My personal journey as a japanese chef is unconventional but no less valuable then a full traditional training in Japan itself. I will write a article about my journey soon.

The reason I am writing this short article is because here in the west we have so many japanese restaurants that are not japanese at all and the essence and the way of life/tea/ culture is little bit left aside which is terribly sad.

Being a japanese chef is a way of life and we cultivate all to our own limitations. I would like to braden those limitation here in the west as we now encounter a time that may be more open for this. We now have developed a strong sense of seasonality and sustainability here in the UK, in New York it is even more established and is part of urban life in a big city,  japanese cuisine is the ultimate celebration of this.

My master said that he could explain everything there is to know about being a japanese chef in 5 minutes, however it would mean nothing! He always sed when he does anything he does it with his whole life and totality possible and this nobody can just explain to anyone.

I get approached constantly about helping owners to produce another Nobu chain which I can understand. Nobu is a great business module and so attractive to be a owner of however this is already done and there is so much more to consider.  Japanese Culture cuisine can be a great and endless possibility’s for new ideas can arise creating new concepts that may be more suitable for the times we live in now.

At the very center and hart of everything in life there is only ultimate potential and working from and with this is what really makes me happy as a chef.

I did not become a chef because I wanted to be what I saw, I became a chef because what I realised which was a direct universe of beauty from within, an expression of this ultimate potential and universal vibration so close to life and how nature expresses itself is no short of a miracle.

Over and over you will find paintings in Zen and in japanese culture that reference enigmatic moments captures as in the painting of the tea master Sen no Rykiu the intoxication of the moon which is a beautifull example of a man that is at one with Nature and the universe at a very refined level.

I grew up very close to Mifune’s Restaurant in Munich run my his son. This is were I was first exposed to the culture of Japan. He actually acted in a movie about Sen no Rykiu called Honkakubô ibun- Death of a Teamaster. Toshiro Mifune was a great actor of Japan filming many cult movies.

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A very great chef of Kyoto once told me to not try and copy and try to be like me but to find my way through nature and the practice of Zen.

I believe that Zen is free of religion and we can find the pure essence of it anywhere.

I wrote this article because the spiritual aspect is very important to my personal work and has been the catalist and soul of Kyoto Ryori but not many chefs in the west speak this aspect that I know. mostly ithe discussions revolve around sciences however it is good to put the science and the perceptive spiritual culture together. Some chefs do have a very strong bond to nature in there work which is wonderful to see and these chefs usually are the ones that resonate the strongest with japan.

I just wanted to share this video with you as it is a very good introduction of principles that have been with us before we can imagine but is hard to explain. Through animation it is more easy to explain what we consider to be invisible or spiritual subjects.

This is just to encourage an open mind about how we live, what we do and how we work- the universe works and by getting closer to that ,we will find only miracles.

Science and religion spirituality is coming closer and closer like never before helping us to understand and suport us to create new designs and ideas that will be better for our environment and the spirit of man living more harmoniously for the future to come.

There is so much to say on this subject however I am only able to provide a glimpse by showing this simple video and my feeling on the matter.

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace
– Buddha

Here is a basic article about Tea ceremony:

http://thehomelesschefs.com/category/every-so-often-there-comes-a-man/

CONGRATULATIONS to all my friends in Culler de Pau Restaurant for there well deserved Michelin Star

17 chefs were awarded michelin stars across spain but for me there is only one star and that is Javier from Culler de Pau.

The very first time I went to eat at Culler de Pau I knew this is special and was shocked he never received a star for his outstanding work
The land around O Grove is so special and everything he sources if from directly around him. He is surrounded by special growers who work naturally with the land, he has the sea and rivers and forests. It is completely a dream to be like Javier with all this nature around him.
But even more then this he has something so unique when it comes to cooking, it is a special galician natural and instinctieve magic. He has such a perfect sense of balancing flavours, textures and ideas that I fail to capture this in words, his work is so incredibly outstanding.
He is the kind of chef that never gets other people to do his job and he is without fail always at the front cooking and plating working with Taka-san on his side. They all have worked so hard and finally this recognition is unbelievably appropriate.
At Culler de Pau it is all family style and they all work together to make this work. You will not believe what 3 chefs in the kitchen can do, It is magic.
I hope now people will truly realize his incredible talent that he has. I wish him to shine very bright.
I want to congratulate him and his family and all the people in his team at culler de pau, a special dedication for Taka-san who is Javiers soul in the kitchen from day one.
We are so incredibly happy for all culler de pau!
A.Martinez – Grove Javier Olleros difficult to forget yesterday’s date. He has received one of the highest recognitions  that all chefs aspire to anywhere in the world: a Michelin Star. Culler de Pau, is in O Grove. Hours after the news, Javier Olleros was at home with his family,  he agreed to answer some questions but not before warning that he was repeatedly stunned. “The phone has not stopped ringing for a minute.”

Javier: Receive Michelin Star is a great joy. I’m still stunned.

Martinez: How did you hear of the news and what did you feet to hear?

Javier:I called a friend who told me in the afternoon, and the truth is I’m still assimilating.

Martinez: How would you describe the cuisine Culler de Pau?

Javier:Is a cuisine deeply rooted to the land. The restaurant is in a rural area of ​​O Grove. We are 200 meters from the river and surrounded by gardens, so I did not get very complicated when it comes to deciding where we should focus our kitchen. In Culler de Pau we focus on much seafood and many vegetables.

Martinez:  What are the cooks who have influenced you or that interest you?

Javier: ‘It’s a difficult question to answer, because I can forget some, but Pepe Solla, for example, is someone who helped me and still helping me. Andoni Aduriz is a huge inspiration and so is Ferran Adria  who is so important for my development as a chef because he inspired me to cook freely. But my greatest teachers are my parents, Isabel and Pepe.

Martinez: Michelin star must also be a very heavy slab weight to bare on your shoulders?.

Javier: It is a responsibility, yes, but mostly it is a recognition of work well done and a very motivational boost. It also involves a greater commitment to our work. The Star is a joy, a recognition, but not the goal. The aim is to defend my food and enjoy my work. For me Culler de Pau is a very personal commitment, and I love my job.

Martinez: O Grove is a town well known in the rest of Spain for its seafood and good hospitality, but lacked a Michelin Star. Now O Grove has it. Is this a prize for everyone who works at the stoves in your region of Spain?

Javier: I love O grove. I positioned my here restaurant because it is here where I am comfortable, where I know the products and suppliers. I think the Michelin Star will help people come to this town. O Grove is a charming place to discover, not just in summer. For me, the best months to enjoy O Grove are spring and fall.

Javier is a great chef but most of all he is the kindest and biggest hart in the kitchen.

E. OCAMPO / EFE – VIGO / MADRID Michelin gastronomic Constellation yesterday joined a new star.   The restaurant “Culler de Pau” located in O Grove, joins the popular red guide.

The chef and owner of Culler de Pau, Javier Olleros (O Grove, 1974), welcomed the award, which will be used “to bring people to our land.” The business opened in April 2009, with the philosophy of “freshness and roots” as a flag. The head room, Amaranta Rodriguez stressed the distinction surprise “that you never expect.”

Presenting Michelin Spain and Portugal 2013 was held without removing any stars for quality loss, despite a year of crisis. Yes they removed eight Spanish restaurants and two others had a Portuguese from the same category for closure or change of the business concept.

Therefore, Galician Michelin stars are so far Maruja Limon in Vigo, Silabario in Tui, Casa Solla in Poio, Casa Marcelo in Santiago, Yayo Daporta Cambados, A Season in Cambre, Retiro da Costiña Santa Comba, Malpica As Garzas and Alborada in A Coruña.

From the point of view of the three stars, Quique Dacosta, that named his restaurant in Denia (Alicante) and Eneko Atxa of Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Vizcaya), amounted to the Olympus of the three Michelin distinctions, thus Already seven Spanish settlements that enjoy the highest distinction of the Red Guide.

Thus, the list of Spanish triestrellados complete with Juan Mari Arzak (Arzak, San Sebastian), Martin Berasategui in their “house mother” of Lasarte (Guipúzcoa), Carme Ruscalleda (Sant Pau in San Pol de Mar, Barcelona), Pedro Subijana (Akelarre, San Sebastian) and Joan Roca (El Celler de Joan Roca, Girona).

Two new stars were awarded to Catalan chef Paco Pérez in the Enoteca (Barcelona), in addition to the two that keeps in Miramar (Llançà, Girona) – and Raul Balam (Moments, Barcelona), sharing the lead with Carme Ruscalleda gastronomic , which added five between Spain and Tokyo.

Therefore, Spain has again with 17 restaurants with two Michelin stars. Alongside newcomers remain Can Fabes (Sant Celoni, Barcelona), Aduriz (Mugaritz, Renteria) and Jordi Cruz (ABAC Barcelona).

Also Diego Guerrero (Club Allard, Madrid), David Muñoz (Diverxo, Madrid), Paco Perez (Miramar in Llançà, Girona), Ramón Freixa (Madrid restaurant with his name), Dani García (Calima in Marbella, Málaga), Oscar Velasco (Santceloni, Madrid), Paco Roncero (La Terraza del Casino, Madrid), Sergi Arola (Madrid) Casa Marcial Arriondas (Asturias), Lasarte (Barcelona), Atrium (Cáceres) and Les Cols in Olot (Girona).

Besides the establishment of O Grove, got their first star Les Magnolies (Girona), Barcelona’s Two Sticks, and Koy Shunka Nectari; Lluerna (Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona), Mina (Bilbao), Ars Natura (Cuenca), the gijonenses Alejandro G. Urrutia and Port and Kabuki (Guía de Isora, Tenerife). Together with José Carlos García (Malaga), Els Brancs (Roses, Girona), Chiron (Valdemoro, Madrid), Ricard Camarena (Valencia), La Prensa (Zaragoza) and in Portugal, Belcanto (Lisbon).

CONGRATULATIONS to WABI Soft opening LONDON 2012 – This is only the beginning!

Sergio del Castillo Mora-Pastry Head Chef, Taiji Maruyama
Head Sushi Chef, Paul Kanja
Senior Sous Chef, Mark Morrans
Sous Chef, Scott Hallsworth
Head chef

This is only the beginning and what a beginning it was.

Yesterday the 21st on November 2012 Wabi opened the doors for there first night of there soft opening.

I had the honour and privilege to be one of there first guests and now reporting back about the tremendous success of the premiering opening night.

I have a long history with Nobu and have nothing but Love for many of the chefs that have spent time at this amazing restaurant. For us all, it is an important part in our lives and truly propelled all our careers in one way or another.

Scott Hallworth is a chef that had a big reputation in Nobu and clearly was one of the most talented Nobu Head Chefs in the UK. He was in command of a big brigade achieving the highest levels for Nobu during his leadership.

This is due to his utmost dedication to quality products and a natural flair for excellent cooking techniques and passion.

Yesterday he proved yet again his ability of balancing flavour combination creating every dish very much in tune through skilful balancing and combing of the right ingredients and perfect cooking times.

Scotts has created his unique japanese inspired style and flavours which really came through very clearly yesterday.

Now Scott having gained even more experience since Nobu has much matured which is now the best asset for Wabi and all there future ventures.

Scott has surrounded himself with some of the best people to create a fantastic dynamic from reception, to kitchen and bar, throughout the entire team of Wabi it is very clearly a solid and exiting team.

I am one of the most critical persons when ever I visit any restaurant. Nothing goes unnoticed  and easily offended by lack of attention to details however to my surprise I really found no faults. Besides on a soft opening one should not do so and really see the bigger picture of what is about to come from this talented group of chefs and front of house team. For me the key elements of Wabi london is the team and the food and the experience of the evening is  what I would describe as one of the best openings I have seen.

One would expect delays, confusion and mistakes but there was non whatsoever.

On my arrival I could not have expected a more elegant reception then from  head reception Oliver and and Maria reception manager. Both I meet in Nobu Berkely before and since have evolved into the best reception team that anyone could dream of. For me reception is so important and so often even in 3 michelin restaurants have been so disappointing missing the crucial elements.  Elegance, refinement respect and charm with perfect timing is the recopy for success.  I will give 10 out of 10 for Wabi reception team. (I am not really doing this evaluation as it is a soft opening, but occasionally I mention this in a few places.)

I was then seated in the bar for my guest to still arrive in the midst of and upbeat buzzing, exiting  and anticipative atmosphere amongst the guests across the room.

Rocco Catalano is bar manager for Wabi. He created a really beautiful cocktail list , I had a new fresh and elegant take on a classic Cosmopolitan which key elements were fresh pomegranate juice freshly squeezed to order, a dash of yuzu and raspberry caviar.

Throughout my evening one catches glimpses of stylish cocktails on the neighbouring tables enjoying the many different presentations, all beautiful in there own right. I am not normally a cocktail lover but this is a must for me now when ever I go to Wabi. I want to try them all.

The glassware Rocco chose is elegant and makes the entire experience of the wine or cocktail enjoyment much more sublime.

Overall the entire beverage side of Wabi is composed to its finest and most refined. I would give a deserving 10 out of 10 for the bar offer that Rocco created for Wabi.

The menu Scott designed is brilliant because instead of giving you a big bible of dishes to ponder through, he very rightly kept the struckture simple and user friendly.

The dish selections and structure is just perfect. All the descriptions are easy to follow. Well deserved 10 out of 10.

I ordered several items and did not mind about sequence order, I wanted to be easy as it was the very first opening night.

I am convinced I had the best waiter  of that night called Junior, who was dedicated to our every need. I am very sensitive and critical to the craft of service and have to say that is is rare to find waiters that know what you need without asking for it.

My glass was just empty he was already there to fill. The entire evening it seemed he was only looking after us.

This deserves a  dignified and refined 10 out of 10.

I normally I dont like Pinot Grigio that much however this was perfect for our beginning of the meal. The wine was light and had a very elegant and delicate character but yet refreshing and young  with very unique taste to it with it which left us debating to what it actually is. I really like when a wine does this as this means it is interacting with my imaginations.

Our first dish was Pork Scratchings with a pickled wasabi dip.

Now normally any pork scratching would send me running however this pork scratching is the best you will ever have! It came with a magic little towel to wipe your hands after but trust me you will not need it as these scratchings are completely not greasy at all. In fact they are so light if you attached a ripon to them you could float them just like a balloon, so airy and light forget rivita.

Another thing I really appreciated was the idea of a pickled wasabi dip which was absolutely a match made to perfection 10 out of 10.

Following dish was Lamb Chops tea smoked with smoky Nasu (aubergine) and a korean spicy sauce.

Very delicious and tasty, the aubergine was sweet and tangy with a smokey hint, the dip was not spicy at al, just right for pure enjoyment. I believe this will be a successful and very popular dish.

I have to apologise for the next picture because at this stage it was hard to take a picture before eating. As soon as the next dish arrived I just went for it.   It was Shetland Squid with scorched cauliflower and yellow chilli dressing.

I love squid and this is the kind of dish I need to eat at least once a week.  The texture of the squid was so soft and all the flavours and mushrooms together on your palet are just scrumptiously moreisch as well.

Beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic chips. This was my least favourite dish of the evening because even though the pleasure of texture is there you completely loose the beef. It is overpowered by the perfectly crispy garlic chips and the onion relish , the spring onion and the onion ponzu sauce. However it looked beautiful and I am sure this is going to be a favourite to have at Wabi. It is purely because every chef creates differently looking for specific things and this does not mean something is bad at all it is just my feeling. Also if I give everything a 10 out of 10 then you probably will not believe me how great this restaurant really is.

The next dish was squid with yellow chilli dip, Very crispy, tasty and no oil in sight. Perfect with my wine. 

At this point we could not resist to see what else Rocco had selected for the Wabi’s wine list.

We were recommended by Junior to try the Sauvignon Blanc which was beautifully elegant again with delicate perfumes of beach blossom and more complex in aromas then the Pinot Grigio from before.

Konbu roasted Chillian sea-bas buttery soft with a chilly ponzu and some pickled Daikon. We also had the sea-bas with truffle yuzu butter however we lost ourselves again and forgot to take a picture. That dish was lovely as the truffel was only a hint the butter so light and perfectly balanced with all the other elements in the dish.

Diver scallops with yuzu truffel egg sauce. The scallops perfectly sweet and the combination of all the ingredients on the palet is X rated..pure sensuality and perfect for all the gluttonist within you.

Foie Grass with sweet and sour soy, nashi pear, Rice and sesame sembe (cracker) and ume shu plum wine yelly with a dash of ginger.

The nashi pear were cut in perfect squares soaking up all the flavours of the foie and the sauces like a sponge and when biting into it, it released all these flavours into your mouth bursting, this together with he delicate foie gras was pure pleasure.

I should have said: “make mine a double” this is really devine, make sure you order one each do not share this.

Sushi with Maru-san:

This night I really could not eat all the dishes that I need to still try and I must go back to taste them all when I am not so exited.

Maru-san is a talented young chef with ability to stretch any traditional japanese training into imaginative new concepts. I normally just like to go and visit the sushi counter and enjoy an omakase by Maru-san. I highly recommend you do that on your visit to Wabi.

I will write a separate article in more detail about Maru-sans omakase very soon inorder to show more about his work in more detail.

On this occasion I wanted to try some of Maru-san’s creative nigiri’s.

We had Razor clam placed in the apple chips, yellowtail, wagyu beef, King crab, Abalone and yorkshire beef filet

After the wonderful sushi we had a very unique plum wine and unfortunately I dont know the name. I will find out. Wabi only have one plum wine so you can not miss it. It is very refined not sweet wonderfully fruity and so enjoyable. I appreciate the quality and the flavour of things, it really matters how people produce things to and you really taste pure goodness with this plume wine – the perfect pleasure drink.

We then moved to the dessert bar. I love dessert bars in japan there are a few. If chefs posses skills it is a crime to keep them in a separate kitchen!

Sergio has been working tirelessly on creating this pastry section for Wabi since September.

When a restaurant opens chefs will work split shifts sleeping only up to 4-6 hours a night and all day relentlessly perfect there craft without having any day off for up to 21 days plus. This is a profession that commands such discipline and focus as well as tremendous strength. I always am aware of the tremendous effort that is made by chefs on a daily basis to bring pleasures like this to our tables.

We were whole heartedly welcomed by Sergio and his lovely and dedicated team. Our first dish was a pallet refresher:

Coconut and Lemongrass sorbet with poached lemongrass stem.

I recommend you dont use a spoon, but instead use the poached lemongrass stem for extra flavour sensations released by the stem in combination of the sorbet.

 

Chestnut Dorayaki with vanilla and salted caramel icecream

This was delicious to and very japanese. Sergio made his interpretation of the classic and much loved dessert with chestnut instead of red bean. Sergio even got a stamp from japan to brand the Dorayaki’s

Zen Garden:

Matcha and avocado oil sponge, raspberry and beetroot spherification Yuzu cream, pine nut crunch and sesame sugar

This is so beautiful and all the flavours and textures were pure delight, for me the beetroot is what really transcends this dish, very cleverly grounding all the elements giving you sensations of sweet and fruity earthiness.

Pine nut crunch was already devoured before I could get to it but was assured it was crunchy and delicious.

The moistness of the matcha and avocado oil sponge was perfection.

This is a work of art and more so texture and flavour are at the foreground of this dish.

Chocol-8 which is eight different textures of chocolate

A perfect piece of art, I dont want to describe everything to much as you need to experience this for yourself!

A beautiful selection of perfect small flavour delights that are heavenly.

We want to thank the entire Wabi team for our delightful and special experience.  We feel extremely honoured to be the very first of customers, which is an experience that was infectious and filled us with happiness and special memories.

I really want to point out that this is the very first time Wabi opened there doors and my photography can not really do the dishes justice.  I normally never review any restaurant and I am not a writer, I am a chef myself however when people work this hard to make your evening so incredible serving you nothing but the best with the very best of intentions from the hart, it was the least I could do to try my best to applaud the success of this venture through my little article on my humble blog. It is one of the best and smoothest openings I have encountered and everyone at Wabi team needs to be congratulated for this. This is only the beginning!

A special thank you to  John and Delroy my dearest  and truest friends in life for always being the best company possible. They were so brilliant helping me to define and enjoy every single detail, taking fabulous pictures of the entire evening and never growing weary of my chefy analytical mind.

We wish Wabi all the best for the future and want to say congratulations and thank you for your hard work.

 おつかれさまでした

Paul Liebrandt…a matter of taste

Long
is the way
And hard,
that out of hell
leads up to light.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1667
“Chef Paul Liebrandt food melds the tradition of classical cuisine with a contemporary, personal approach to ingredients and technique and a uniquely graphic visual style. His most recent restaurant, Corton, at which he is Chef and Owner, has been at the forefront of the New York and national dining scene since opening in October 2008, having been honored with two Michelin stars, three stars by The New York Times, and enshrinement in Esquire magazine’s industry pantheon, its Best New Restaurants list.”
I am so pleased about this short film that documents the facts of what a chef has to go through inorder to get to were he wants to be.
You always know what you want to do exactly and how to do it however so many obstacles are in your way and you can find yourself on a road that seems your life is heading for the toilet instead of Michelin heaven. You are young and full of passion and then embark into the unknown dimensions of bad business partnerships and projects that really take it out of you, in Pauls case it was flipping burgers to consulting for marshmallows until one day someone who knows what they are actually talking about letting him do the work he needed to do inorder to achieve excellence.
It is a story I can identify with so much as I have been in many of the mentioned situations on this film  myself.
I added a link below of this short film which is showing you the real side of how it is when you are a chef on your own with nothing but your passion on your side.
Paul Liebrant is a natural chef with a very wise soul already at such a young age and due to his passion and perseverance achieved his goals. He seems like a really cool guy but most of all a really nice human being with a real gift for what he does.
In the film you see Paul being slated by critics at his early stages of being a chef.
Food critics should celebrate chefs that are adventurous instead of putting there set ideas of how things should be to there personal taste! I dont think a chef has to comply with any format and is allowed to create complexity and ambitious dishes as this is normal for any chef that has passion running in there vains.
Why not have a lot of things going on in your dish? It does not always have to be simplicity  I think it is important to go for the ambitious dishes as we eventually find our core. Chefs work with the feedback of everyone but we should also allow ourselves to join the journey of the chef as any chef that goes that far to be ambitious and taking risks is someone on a very exiting journey of looking to brake boundaries  This is not something we can learn by being conservatieve, we have to go into the unknown to find something that becomes more refined as we develop as chefs.
Look at Ferran Adria’s dishes early stages till now the dishes look so different right. Also even until recent not every dish was to everyones taste at el bulli…it;s a journey and also relating to this avantgarde idea Ferran decided to not make the food to please everyone it is a presentation of ideas and creativity.
Watch the film it is really inspirational!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b01nvw05/

 

http://www.paulliebrandt.com/

elBulli Foundation Cinema

There is no limitation on imagination and this why I love Ferran Adria. His plans for the future are incredible he is not only the best chef in the world but the most generous. He has shared everything with everone and he is stretching  possibilities and imagination to infinity.

The first time I met Ferran Adria was an accident in Barcelona.

I was walking and someone bumped right into me. I was startled then I could not believe my eyes…it was Ferran.

I was even more startled as I have the highest regards for this person through his work for many years and there he was bumping into me in the middle of busy Barcelona. I could not believe it. I am incredibly shy and would never talk to someone, but could not help myself and taped him on the shoulder as he was about to walk on and I literally crossed my self in christian fashion completely spontaneously and said Oh my god I am a very devoted person to your work. He was with a group of people and they could see my sincere overwhelming experience and seemed to find my response endearing and we were laughing together.

This was the most magical encounter for me. To bump like this together with the best chef in the world is no short of a miracle.

I am not christian at all, however it was as If I was meeting God. God is a creatieve force and this is exactly what Ferran is. He is one of the most an incredible creative forces alive.

He is currently busy with so many projects you can go to the elbulli website to see.

Below is the elbulli foundation plans of a cinema and space for brainstorming. All the info is from the elbulli website and VIMO:

Ferran y Juli nos piden un espacio para BRAINSTORMING y CINEFerran and Juli asked from us a space for BRAINSTORMING and CINEMA
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
1. TÁCTICA OBSERVATORIO:
Ferran nos pide preservar las vistas desde el lugar privilegiado en que se encuentra la sala audiovisual.
2. TÁCTICA ACCESO:
El acceso será semienterrado y estará marcado como un apéndice del edificio.
3. TÁCTICA MIRADOR MONTJOI:
el observatorio tendrá un mirador alargado y estrecho para poder disfrutar mejor de las vista.
4. TÁCTICA PERFORACIONES:
comenzamos a acercanos al mundo de los CORALES MUERTOS, óseos, calcáreos, con perforaciones para dejar entrar la luz, o enfocar a vistas especiales del cielo.1. TACTICAL OBSERVATORY:
Ferran calls us to preserve the view from the privileged place, where the media room is located.
2. TACTICAL ENTRY:
Access will be partially buried and marked as an appendix to the building.
3. TACTICAL OBSERVATORY MONTJOI:
the observatory will have a long and narrow viewpoint in order to enhance the viewing experience.
4. BORING TACTICS:
we began to approach the world of DEAD CORAL, bone, limestone, with holes to let in light, or focus on special views of the sky.
Movie Brainstorming exterior
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Brainstorming. Alzado
Brainstorming. Façade
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Brainstorming. Escenario 01. 9.00-11.00. Reunión de grupo
Brainstorming. Scenario 01. 09.00-11.00. Group meeting
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Primer simulacro de Escenario 01 en elBulli donde se ubicará la sala brainstorming. Con la última generación de camareros y cocineros de elBulliRestaurant. 17 de marzo del 2011.First simulation of Scenario 01 at elBulli where the brainstorming will be built. With the last generation of cooks and waiters of elBulliRestaurant. March 17th 2011.
Brainstorming. Escenario 02. 20.00-… chill out-cine
Brainstorming. Scenario 02. 20.00-… chill out-cinema
Movie brainstorming interior
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Brainstorming. Planta
Brainstorming. Plan
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Brainstorming. Planta de cubiertas
Brainstorming. Roof plan
Brainstorming. Sección por acceso principal
Brainstorming. Access section
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Brainstorming. Sección por el mirador
Brainstorming. Lookout section
Lenguaje y tecnología que se incorpora en la piel del brainstorming
Language and technology embedded in the brainstorming exterior skin
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Detalle exterior de la piel del brainstorming. Elementos tecnológicos y micropaisajes
Detail from the exterior skin of the brainstorming. Technological elements and microlandscapes
Detalle exterior de la piel del brainstorming. Elementos tecnológicos y micropaisajes
Detail from the exterior skin of the brainstorming. Technological elements and microlandscapes
Render exterior de la piel del brainstorming. Elementos tecnológicos y micropaisajes
Detail from the exterior skin of the brainstorming. Technological elements and microlandscapes
Imágenes interiores del brainstorming
Interior images of the brainstorming
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Proceso constructivo del brainstorming:
Creación de un inflable – Introducción del mallazo – Proyección del aislante y hormigón – Creación de perforaciones
Constructive process of brainstorming:
Creation of the inflatable – Introduction of the mesh – Projection of the insulation and concrete – Creation of holes
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Estudio estructural de DOMOStructural studio by DOMO
Estudio estructural de DOMOStructural studio by DOMO

Hiroyoshi Ishida

Hiroyoshi Ishida  is cooking for 40 years.  He is a buddhist but not a monk, all his dishes have a spiritual sense. Meditation is, for him and his wife, a daily practice.

The Japanese chef feels devotion to freedom which is a mirror of creativity. Because the architect of Mibu “is a lone wolf, who has maintained the individuality in a kitchen that  is also marked by traditional schemes.

Ishida has developed a unique signature cuisine. Ferran Adrià liked his technique and creativity and the fact of being unique. Both reflect his spirit on the plate, as the Impressionists.Mibu his restaurant in barely advertised and in a seemingly normal pedestrian area in Ginza. If you did not know it is there you would not even see it really.

A tiny room 20 m2, a table for eight guests, and a unique exclusivity. This is the avant-garde restaurant Mibu, owned Hiroyoshi, Ishida, renowned Japanese chef. And it is trendy restaurant, situated in the fashionable Ginza district in Tokyo, is all the rage, despite its high cost, a few thousand euros per person.

A booking made months and even years in advance, can give you the luxury of dining at this prestigious restaurant, which is two hours of ritual. Only members and guests have access to Mibu, once a month and already made a reservation in advance. Without reaching questions, Mibu has earned its reputation as a restaurant is complete in all respects.

The menu is based on traditional Kaiseki cuisine, a cuisine that is both food quality and artistic quality, a key role in avant-garde cuisine. They are delicious for the eye as the palate. The menu is updated every month, and in each seasonal the products  color, texture and taste is different.

To have a meal in such a unique setting and with such an experienced and artistic chef like  Hiroyoshi Ishida is indescribable and unforgettable. This is pure and magic.

Ishida Hiroyoshi prepare your meal with a spirituality that characterizes it, is that Ferran Adria already said once: “The big difference between European and Ishida is that the former can cook with the hands, with the senses, the brain and even with affection, but never with the soul as he does. “

Natura by Albert Adria and Mateu Casañas El Bulli

Natura is one of the most beautiful and wonderful dessert books ever created inspiring chefs world wide.The book contains undoubtably the most extraordinary creations. A book that I love and cherish and will always admire and hold dear.

Natura is like many of food’s greatest wonders in that its catalyst stems from a mistake. A simple miscalculation of time while working with a proven dessert led Chef Albert Adria, of the famed elbulli restaurant, to embark on a two year project that spawned this amazing pastry work. He looks to the physical world for his inspiration while placing an emphasis on nature’s ability to achieve balance and perfection, even though in appearance this is not always the case. Chef Albert discusses his philosophy on differentiation in shapes of end products. He does not always work with exact shapes, yet recognizes the need to respect a plated dessert’s structure and proportion. The development of new techniques such as “microwave sponge cake” is another byproduct of Chef Adria’s free thinking pastry mind. This book will challenge your thoughts and offer you new creative avenues. It contains 49 full page color photos, with a separate CD containing the same 49 stunning photos and their respective recipes.

The world of Albert and Ferran Aria is always something that is unbelievably difficult to describe as to how much it moves, stimulate, inspires truly evoking and provoking deepest emotions and feelings as well as revolutionising my minde as a chef and an artist.

The book Natura has become a cult reference pastry book and every chef possesses it as a treasure amongst there book collections.

This book is not only a book that is important for chefs world wide but a perfect gift to anyone. The joy and sweetness of this book is irresistibly charming and meaningful showing us all to bring more then just food to a table.

Albert Adria, Ferran Adria’s younger brother, joined the kitchen of elBulli at 16, spending the first two years learning all the stations. He then decided to focus on pastry, and worked for other pastry chefs around Spain during elBulli’s winter breaks, to hone his craft. In 1997, after 12 years, he left elBulli behind but has remained involved in elBullitaller—literally, “the workshop”—where elBulli’s menu development takes place when the restaurant is closed several months each year. The chef is the author of Los Postres de elBulli (“desserts from elBulli”) andNatura, a groundbreaking pastry cookbook in which he creates desserts inspired by nature that take the form of landscapes. He also collaborated on the elBullicookbooks and on A Day at elBulli. Adria is also a budding filmmaker: he co-directed elBulli, historia de un sueño (“elBulli, story of a dream”), a documentary on the restaurant released in 2009. In 2006, Adria opened Inopia Classic Bar, a high-end tapas restaurant in Barcelona that was famous for the velvet rope behind which guests had to wait—as well as for its innovative, flavorful take on tapas, of course. Inopia closed in July 2010, but Adria opened a cocktail bar, 41º, in November and will open another restaurant in January. The Main Course met him after his presentation at the International Chefs Congress in New York in Fall 2010.

Two of the people who were assisting Albert  Adria on his book of NATURA  was Mateu Casana and Andres Conde two of the key Pastry figures of elbulli.

Mateu Casaña

Mateu Casañas born August 6, 1977 in Roses. Studied EGB, BUP and COU at Centre School Empordà Roses. 1996 In 1996 contact with the world of restoration in the restaurant If plau us of his home town, who runs his family. 1997-present In Summer first enters 1997 in elBulli for a testing period, thanks to the friendship between their parents and Juli and Ferran. During the winter of this year working on elBullicatering, located in the Barcelona Aquarium. In March 1998 as assistant enters the cold room of elBulli, and after two months is starting head of this section for the remainder of the season. The last three months of last year an internship at the restaurant Mas Pau Avinyonet of Puigventós (Girona). In January, February and March 1999, an intern with the Turia restaurant, under the direction of Rafa Clarassó. In elBulli has desarrrollado chief responsibilities starting of meat, fish, warm starters, entrees and preparation kitchen, plus second chef and purchasing manager. within this period goes through a stage at the Four Seasons, High Park Corner, London.

Representing the elBulli pastry (of which he is chief from 2003 to the present under the command of Albert and Ferran Adrià), received the award of Best of the gastronomy of 2005 at best pastry chef of the year.

Mateu Casañas has an increasable reputation as a teacher and person to work with.
Not only is his skill and imagination of the highest degree but more is even his humanity and ability to nurture others.
So much so that many exclaim there gratitude in such beautiful words and hart as below:
“The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.. My Chef Mateu Casañas has done this and more with me. He gave me so much that I must thank him for ever.
The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who is tough and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.” He is great in doing this …
I had achieve many goals in my time at ‘ EL Bulli ‘, no one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. My Success is that I have more knowledge then what I had before going in to ‘ EL BULLI ‘ with Mateu Casañas.”

Words by Najat Kaanache

This is exactly what many people feel after having worked with Mateu Casañas.
Sergio del Castillo Mora

Sergio del Castillo Mora also had the privilege to learn and study with this great pastry chef in 2008.

Without any doubt this was the most significant and important experiences for Sergio, sharing the very same feelings as Najat Kaanache who working in el bulli for 7 months.
Sergio was working with Mateus just after the great book “Natura” had been released. The techniques were all relating to the book showing new and very innovative ideas but more so were enigmas of imagination transcending the limitation of what pastry can actually comunicate.
From that point of having spent time with Mateu’s dessert training, Sergio’s path as a pastry chef took on a whole different meaning in his life propelling his journey to strive for new ideas, feelings and concepts for his own creations as a Pastry Head Chef London NOBU Berkeley ( Sergio has been pastry chef in Nobu since 2005.)
Below is Mateu Casañas and Andres Conde in 2008:

After the closing of El bulli in 2011, former head of elBulli cuisine  opened the restaurant in Cadaques  by the name of Compartirc which means “Sharing”  with  elBulliFoundation, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch

These professionals lived 15 years as active actors in this explosive el bulli concept of gastronomy  before launching their own business.

http://en.compartircadaques.com/

Albert Adria and Andrés Conde opened Tickets and 41 degrees in Barcelona with many more dreams and creations to pleasure us in the near future.

I dont really like to show to many pictures of Tickets as it should really be a surprise. I dont want to spoil it however there may be people that can not travel so I just show a few deserts so everyone who cant go can get a little sense how much fun and good TICKETS is. 41degree is also really fantastic and very different as a concept.

This dessert is a magical creation evoking fairy tale memory’s of little red riding hood in the forrest 

ACDC as a dessert was pure genius  one of my favourite rock band and singer ever. It comes with the full blast music evoking the rock god in you . It is hard not to get up and start rocking out with everyone in TICKETS.  Absolutely fantastic experience of the fact that food can have all the aspects of what man can feel: sadness, happiness  mystery, HUMOR, intellectual, art,  the dish can challenge you to debate, to cry so many things…. it is absolutely incredible and thanks to chefs like Albert and Ferran Adria that we can learn how to do this as they have taken everything – to always as far as they can – opening the doors for all possible imagination to ignite and inspire us.

Staff Meal…Noma

Staff meal is the most important part of the day. Many restaurants do it different ways.

In Ryugin Tokyo we stand eating in the kitchen with in 10 min. In nobu you have to be ready every day to feed 65 personel cooking something for everyone, vegetarian, salads, muslim etc.

Having to cook for so many people on a split shift is a challenge and to also run your section which is for about 400 covers a day.

Usually most restaurants take a moment to sit all together.

Most important is to think about good food, Chefs that cook on such a leve if eating bad things dont learn about taste and the other point tis nutrition. To make food to help chefs stay in form mentally and physically.

Being a chef is like a sportsman and nutrition should be taken care of more precisely.

Eating together is key as it is truly a family meal and restaurant should be always treated as a family affair.

Cooking rotas to give different chefs the opportunity to cook something definitely psyches up chefs to cook something nice helping individuals to learn and also share new ideas and cultures.

I have learned so much from eating staff meals around the world especially about peoples cultures.

When ever I am not working in a restaurant I am at a loss as I am not very happy cooking for just myself. I am so used to cooking for everyone and big pots.

Here is a nice video by Noma were Rene explains the importance and significant elements of the chefs family meal.

Staff Meal…Noma