What is the most important ingredient in Kyoto cuisine?

WATER

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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.

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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.

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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:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/water-come-from.htm

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!

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From Masaru Emoto
Emoto Peace Project:

2013年3月8日金曜日

My sincere request to the concerned people in the world

March 11th, 2013 will mark 2 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated Japan. Measuring at a magnitude 9, the earthquake created a huge tsunami to follow, that hit the Tohoku area of Japan at 2:46 pm that day.Literally destroying everything in its path, including victimizing 18,574 people. Sadly there are still 2,694 people who are missing as a result of the tsunami’s powerful surge, taking them back out to sea. In addition, the earthquake created meltdowns at the Fukushima Nuclear reactors that resulted in a lot radioactive substances leaking into the ocean waters of Japan, contaminating the Pacific Ocean.In 1997, I was with a Buddhist monk, Rev. Kato who cleansed dirty dam water with his prayers at the Fujiwara dam lake in Gunma Prefecture of Japan. I would like to share this important story with you.
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Me with Rev. Kat
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Water Crystal Photo – before the prayer
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Water Crystal Photo – after the prayer
My interpretation of the 2 photos is that they were certainly a good indicator about the condition of the lake at that time. The water crystal before the prayer shows design that looks like a figure of suffering female face. On the other hand, the water crystal after the prayer turned out to be divine in showing lights around the water crystal.
Another example of how our prayers effect water, In the early morning of July 25th in 1999, 340 people were gathered for a water ceremony at Lake Biwa the biggest lake of Japan. At that time, Lake Biwa was so polluted that horrid odors were emitting from the lake. A few days after we went there to offer prayers, the local newspaper reported that suddenly there was no longer bad odors emitting from Lake Biwa.
So from these experiences, I learned that if our prayers and intentions are pure, with using water as medium, multi-dimensional power can take place.
I would like to help those missing 2,694 people who are still missing after 2 years past from the disaster. I would like to protect and heal the oceans from contamination of radioactive substances. I am sure that you feel the same way. In order to do so, we need numerous numbers of people at the same time to join together to send pure prayers to souls of the victims.
I speak of this well known Einstein theory at my seminars:
E = MC2  Mass–energy equivalence by Albert Einstein
I believe the true meaning and power of this equation is
ENERGY = # of people x CONCSIOUSNESS2
The amount of energy or power of the prayer is determined by amount of people who collective connect their pure hearts at the same time. Therefore, I would like to request the everyone around the world to join together for a Simultaneous Global Prayer at exactly 2:46pm Japan time on March 11th. Together we will collectively send our sincere prayers with the following words.
To the victims lost in the oceans and to the water in Pacific Ocean which has suffered radioactive contamination from the nuclear accident in Fukushima.
“I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you and I love you.”
(Repeat 3 times)
Where: Right from where you are.
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
My sincere love and thanks to each and every one of you for your simultaneous participation in collectively connecting to your heart for this powerful global prayer.
With sincere love and gratitude,
Masaru Emoto
Emoto Peace Project
Water the future:
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Noma in the 50’s…It looks like spagetti so we call it spoguti……and penicillin pudding or an elm tree on rye

This super funny sketch from the 50’s has a knew-it-all-along effect or creeping determinism of how our food would evolve as in Noma, Mugaritz or Elbulli. 

etc. etc there are so many examples I could add to this post , but what I am so fascinated about is the on point humor generated purely from this comedic geniuses imagination in this sketch from the 1950’s about what is really the reality of our gastronomic experience now. I love all this so this post is out of pure love for everyone I mention in this post hope it wil make you smile  🙂

The 3 Albarino’s

This is my first article in the new year 2013. For me the beginning of this year was a little bit challenging to say the least however I’m really excited to write about a very nice dinner invitation I got from 2 very special incredible people and shared with another two incredible friends and all revolving around wine.

I recently wrote an article about a wine producer from Galicia. My friend Hugo  who’s father is  JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ a very special wine producer I wrote about just before christmas last year (see article link below). Hugo and his father was so kind to organize three wines from his wine estate so that we could make a little tasting together here in London.

I arrived at Hugo’s flat in Hackney which is in the beautiful old church that has been converted into flats. I then was introduced to an incredible person for the first time which was Christopher Kelly  of Theatre dela Mode (http://www.notjustalabel.com/editorial/theatre_de_la_mode).  His is a british unique designer who also loves many other art forms, he paints and is involved in many other projects to. His fashion is particularly popular in Japan.

He is such an extraordinary menswear designer. I love fashion and find mens ware fashion sometimes more exiting then womans purely because it speaks to me more in the sense that is is so wearable in a city like London.

I have always liked man’s fashion because of the different structures  layers and combinations, attitude ….almost being like kind of urbon city amor but at the same time being really cool and edgy.  I like to switch things up combining obviously something feminine with the masculine and Christopher Kelly’s work is a beautiful example of this, I really  appreciate craftsmanship and simplicity but within this simplicity I find complexity that is really satisfying to me.

Being a Japanese specialist chef we see simplicity as something that we aspire to and  in order to do this you have to develop great craftsmanship over many years of practice. The journey of  getting to this level is definitely not a simple one it is layered with so many different emotions, feelings understanding, insight, revelations, aspirations, struggles and many many many experiences and this is what really fascinates me.

I guess I see my own view when looking at Christophers work and I hope it resonates correctly to some degree.

Christopher had a collaboration project (see picture above) which was a exhibition of monster sculpture, embodying the spirit of the jacket. Andrew uses specialist techniques to construct imposing sculptures that express the very makeup of each jacket, its form, colour, style and even how it feels to wear it.”

THis is exactly the kind of thing that I like to do with my food concepts.  In japan the idea of something having a spirit or something else that goes beyond the physical- that is the spirit or essence of something, a kind of extended experience of what you normally see, is not unusual in Japan. That is the magic of something that resonates beyond the physical touching emotion and stimulating the way we can experience things.  That is completely important and interesting for me otherwise my dishes are just technical. To develop sensitivity for that and the skill to make this more experiential to people- is an art.

It can be a bit intimidating for me to try to speak about these things when you meet another very sophisticated artist or trying to write about this on my blog.

I would say in general that working with these concepts is definitely more unusual in gastronomy then fashion and it can be difficult to apply in a comercial business. However restaurants like El bulli and mugaritz etc do have a greater understanding and freedom to work with these elements and have influenced the gastronomic industry world wide with many avantgarde ideas that usually are more accustomed to art and music etc.

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“Celebrating a collection of re-invigorated classics, Theatre de la Mode has collaborated with paper sculptor Andrew MacGregor to create an elaborate exhibition of monster sculpture, embodying the spirit of the jacket. Andrew uses specialist techniques to construct imposing sculptures that express the very makeup of each jacket, its form, colour, style and even how it feels to wear it.”

My evening in the company of Hugo, Christopher, Ana and Theresa was an evening that was a truly rich experience for me  and subject matters were as abstract and fee without prejudice. It is very rarely that I actually meet other creative thinkers on everyday basis so when I do, I really get extremely creatively stimulated.

I would describe it as being overwhelmed and I love being overwhelmed.  It is almost like the richness of everything is overwhelming your being with new information and perceptions which is like being fed with new energy’s.

I am not a Christian however there is a saying which I don’t know exactly who said it -I presume it was Jesus but it said “that man should not live from bread alone” and there are definitely so many different ways to nurture and nourishing your self.

As a chef I definitely don’t just concentrate on the actual physical side of food preparation.

In the early training of my career I definitely focused on really understanding the physical aspects of cooking, timing, textures, all nutritional aspect, history and so on however- now I seem to focus on making the experience bigger by inviting other elements which you would normally not be concentrate on in a  conventional chef training.

A very good example of this is Mugaritz. Food defiantly has the potential to be as artistic as any other art form.

I do believe that perhaps developing this more holistic idea of different ways that the human can nourish his senses and being is an interesting subject to develop.

Eating in good company in a nice place with people that really care about you definitely has energetically a different effect on your body then if you’re on your own depressed and in the harsh environment.

If you look how we eat and were the food comes from and how it all is handled etc that alone is a very good place to start analysing how that might effect you nourishment ultimately.

I’m not having any particular revolutionary thoughts on this subject however it’s something that really occupies my mind and I do try to focus on this and see how far I can go with it however it is very difficult to find like-minded chefs who are willing to embark on such a journey of developing such ideas and of corse one has to also think realistically in terms of financing such a project.

This is just to share a little bit about what is going on in my mind and how to come closer to these things and creating a tangible operation in the very near future.

So in a nutshell meeting Christopher work was extremely inspiring to me because it is like creatieve parallel thinking. His project with capturing the spirit of the jacket is very much what I am doing with food. Seeing Christophers work assures me that I am not wrong in what I am exploring. It is always good to know you are not the only one thinking certain things and being a hermit you can easily feel you loosing track with others sometimes.

That evening we were to conduct a mini wine tasting together and comparing what each one of us actually got fromt he wine’s,  one was Nicola the other was Tabela and the third one was Trico.

Below this article I will link to a previous article which will explain in detail about where those wines came from and how they’re being cultivated in Galicia.

I have attach the pictures of the evening as it is to hard to write the events of the night in detail.

Hugo is working in the V&A so his home was like a treasure sanctuary of many iconic trinkets and wonders that you just keep discovering throughout the night.

A meal was also prepared for the wine tasting and very charmingly served on vintage collectables creating such a personal experience.

The 3 Albarino’s of Galicia

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Nicolas, Trico, Tabla
Hugo and Christopher
Hugo and Christopher
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Theresa and Ana from “flavours of Spain” they are importing the wine to UK 🙂
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Hugo had prepared this amazing Empanada for us to match with our wine tasting.
The name on the dish is Trico the first wine we tasted.
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First we tried the TRICO which is matured for 2 years. It is a young wine but refined and elegant, mineral and peaches .Details of the wine please see article link below.
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Hugo made this Galician Empanada to go with our wine tasting which was absolutely lovely made with so much care and love the most important ingredient in any dish!

DSCF0319 DSCF0334 DSCF0322 IMG_1179 IMG_1178IMG_1174This is a more traditional ALbarino matured for 1 year, very nice nose- parfume, delicate, floral, fruity, elegant and light. This wine will be fantastic with vegetable dishes, fish and seafood.

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All 3 wines have labels all drawn by Hugo’s great grandmother, this bottle has a little greek soldier on it symbolising the strength and uniqueness of a child that without trying is irrepetible as is this  wine.

This wine is my favourite, very clean fruity nose really fantastic for the kind of dishes I create. Please read the full article about all these 3 wines attached link below. I have not gone in to much detail in this report and it is important to see all the detail and specialist care goes into the production and history of these very unique special Albarino’s.

We only expected to try the wines but the food prepared that evening was so wonderful that I had to include the pictures. Sorry my camera is not good but I hope the spirit of this special meeting will come across.

All dishes were served in vintage vessels which was really a fantastic way to experience togetherness and sharing food. I used to be involved in a cafe called Macaron in Clapham and my idea was that all the crockery was bought from vintage shops nothing was matching I still love this idea.

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I like this wall of mirrors because you can choose what you want to see and how just like life. There used to be a childrens program I used to watch and the lady always used to say what window do you want to go through today? There was always a choice of different shaped windows!
I like this wall of mirrors because you can choose what you want to see and how just like life. There used to be a childrens program I used to watch and the lady always used to say what window do you want to go through today? There was always a choice of different shaped windows!

DSCF0315 DSCF0359 DSCF0360 IMG_1285 IMG_1271 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 15.44.46I want to thank everyone for that very special night. I added this picture because seemingly really ordinary things in the right view can become extraordinary. I really like developing my senses and eyes to see the magnificence in everything. The closest thing that feels like god to me.

Alchemy of the moment.

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.

Giorgio Locatelli, Marco Pierre White and Magnus Nielsson

Giorgio Locatelli

Yesterday I was at the restaurant show London and as usual I am devastated about the spirit of that event.

It seems it never advances. I travel the world to all the conferences and have to say the London one seems extremely dated and laking innovational spirit.

What could be a great opportunity to ignite the uk gastronomic horizons, has sadly left me completely deflated and feeling estranged .

On the upside however, on the main center stage, I meet Giorgio Locatelli for the first time and to my surprise I really found him to be a lovely person.

He was so passionate, you can see it in his eyes and every movement. At that moment my spirit became a little more upbeat.

For me it is important to see that devoted endless passion and love for cooking in someones hart and he is surely that person. He was taking time to speak to everyone without prejudice and indifferences.

I normally would not go to his restaurant as I am more a  avant-garde underground person also I am a poor chef, however after meeting him I will definitely go.

He was showing us how to make  Raviolo alla Bergese. This was his homage to the great italian chef Nino Berges.

He was explaining about eggs breathing in the fridge so you could infuse eggs by placing them by his amazing white truffels he brought in for this demonstration.

Giorgio Locatelli said: ‘The white truffle is so incredibly unique because it is extremely fragile and impossible for man to cultivate artificially. Our truffles come from the San Pietro a Pettine estate in Italy and grow in the ancient woods until they are perfectly ripe. I know our guests will simply love their delicate and decadent taste.’

He showed us how to make a good pasta from scratch and then presented the dish which was the Raviollo filled with a potato  whereby in the center he then placed an egg yolk. After boiling the raviolo carefully he made a beurre noistette with a pinch of salt to then grate the magic white truffels on top.

I ran to the finished plate however I was mobbed by a crowed of people that just scoffed the whole thing down without admiring or smelling it first.

They could see people were trying to also take a picture but with no shame plundered the plate like a robbery.

While everyone was like a Piranha on his raviollo I took the opportunity to take a good look and smell of the white truffels.

The fragrance was devine and so elegant, it’s scent embedded itself deeply into the center of my memory. I will remember this particular fragrance forever.

Here are some picture:

He is so kind really taking time to talk to people

Marco Pierre White

Then Marco ….with his beloved found passion knorr….to be honest… I really like Marco but knorr is not my passion.. thats for sure.

When I was sitting there contemplating should I stay or should I go, I saw in the corner of my eye a guy building a tower of knorr and my hart deeply sank.

I understand Knorr treats Marco well and thats all that matters really, however I escaped to the side of the stage just incase the session gets to intolerable and revolving around knorr.

I used to work with one of the bread maker/ chefs that worked under Marco in the infamous 80″s. He told me he was having to make everything from scratch really labour intensieve stocks and prep. He told me at the end of the night they had to polish all the brass and then he lay his apron on the floor to sleep a few hours to then start the bread at 5 am.

Not to much different to my experiences of working in Kyoto or tokyo, except instead of bread we go to the market before the day begins. Astonishingly were I was working the chefs need no more then 4 hours sleep. I got used to it after a wile but in the long run I would probably look like the little people from the Dark Chrystal after the life force was sucked out of them by the nasty bird guy’s.

Marco was talking pretty much about the usual:  how unhappy he was in the kitchen and chasing dreams, then he realised, he does not regret the kitchen time however he does not want to go back to that,  about his love for driving and shooting and buying old railway station benches and other oddities.

Never the less he pulled the biggest crowd out of all the 3 other chefs, however it was more a “can you sign my book” and spectating poor old Marco.

He was swinging his knife a lot  looking like he may any moment skinn someone alive, which was probably anticipated drama effects.

Here is the steak he later then cooked up that everyone gobbled up gladly. I had no chance of taking a picture of the cooked one sorry got mobbed by the Piranha  crowd again.

Then came Magnus Nielson from the FAVIKEN

Nielsson is here in London for his book tour uk.

http://uk.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/faviken-9780714864709/

I first came across Magnus in Madrid on a convention Incredibly good presentation on meat and how he approaches ageing and methods at the faviken.

I can identify with his style very deeply, as it is so similar to kyoto/ Japan and the historic elements of Japan. Japan being so isolated in the past, required the people to find ways of preserving foods to sustain food sources during unfavourable seasons.Therefor a lot of pickling was necessary and has remained a popular type of food to this day.

I was a bit sad that there were not many people sitting in to Magnus Nielsson’s demonstration and showed that not many people are aware of him here in the uk sadly. Everywhere I have been so far at all the conferences particularly in spain that I travel to, welcomes Magnus with full auditoriums and much enthusiasm.

Magnus is a very important chef and represents the purity of nature cooking that is more deep then the usual seasonality other chefs refere to.

He lives the seasons truly and anyone visiting Jämtland enter this incredible natural rustic farm dimension fully at the Faviken.

I remember him talking about, that being close to nature is not necessarily living in a cave or forest but there is the farming nature. I presumed he is referring to the very natural farming cultures perhaps from the past were farming was closer still to the natural elements. He of course has also an element of wild and raw nature about his work which seems to be his unique style.

He does not dress his dishes they look wild and natural. Noma is natural but seem more styled Magnus is wilder and in my mind it has something hunterisch about it.

I personally would have not gone to the London Restaurant Show if he had not been there as I always find the London Restaurant Show depressing.

Being a japanese chef I cant identify easily with the british chefs easily.

I came a bit to early and gladly so otherwise I would not have seen Giorgio nor discovered how cool he really is.

Also the guy who was suposed to ask him questions was most of the time silent, which was a shame. Magnus in Madrid Fusion was excitable and telling incredible story’s throughout the demonstration.

He is a good presentator, not only because of his interesting work concepts. Magnus is a very open and kind chef ready to share his passions with the world.

He is young but he really knows what he wants and how to be consequent with his concept. He seems as if he has been doing this kind of cooking for 20 years. He is very knowledgeable,  precise and in tune with his environment, reminding us all how wonderful nature is and tastes.

Despite a surprising low turnout  Magnus presented one of the dishes that he likes to present at the Faviken when the season is right.

He brought with him a rare bird  called “THRUSH” that was very popular in europe Spain in the past however due to the popularity of it, it became an endangered and rare specie.

In Magnus’s region, the bird is in abundance and therefore a rare place to be able to try such a rarity.

Magnus cooks with no fuss and is as natural as his surrounding nature.

He showed us how to clean the bird including the head.

The bird then needs to be pan fried, however it has to be cooked firstly attending to the areas that need longer time to heat through like the wing shoulder area and the upper leg parts.

He simply toward the end bastes the bird with a little home made butter. Importance is given to basting the inner cavity of the bird to ensure the blod is not left raw which would be unpleasant to eat.

He then presented the bird in a nest.

It was very hard to take pictures at this event as the lighting made everything look yellow so I made the pictures in black and white.

There was not much of the bird to go around so I unfortunately also did not get a taste of this dish either. Someone said it taste almost like pigeon but lighter.

We will definitely go out to visit the Faviken as soon as we can and enjoy what ever he is serving up, enjoying the entire experience in Jämtland.

I wrote an article a short while ago on my blog. You can find the link below.

The spirit of Galicia in the V&A part 1

Everything starts with a great Vision:

V&A = VISION & ART

This article is about the story of the Albarino wine from Galicia, however not just any Albarino but made by JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ the father of Victor Hugo Lopez Borges.

I first met Hugo in London at the Galician Business connection 2012. He was there to represent his father JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ wine here in London. The wines have 3 different names are: Trico, Nicolas and Talba de Sumar.

At this conference we spoke briefly about his fathers story and I was immediately taken by this authentic and unique  history, concept and story. I am the kind of person that loves great wines but  I also am always also looking for a story and passion about the wine.

The history of this family definitely did not fail to deliver exactly this on any counts.

I suggested that I would write about his incredible family heritage and story of the Galician Albarino “Rías Baixas” .

Before I can tell the story of the wine I could not do so without also writing about Hugo and a little bit about the V&A first as not only is his father an important pioneer of Alberino, Hugo is in his own right also of incredible acclaim.

Victor Hugo Lopez Borges infront of the reproduction of the Pórtico da Gloria in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.The Pórtico da Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a Romanesque portico by Master Mateo and his workshop at the request of King Ferdinand II of León, who donated for this purpose one hundred maravedís annually between 1168 and 1188, when the latter consisting inscribed in stone in the cathedral as its completion. On April 1, 1188 placed the lintels of the portico and the conclusion of the set was delayed until 1211, at which time the temple was consecrated by the presence of King Alfonso IX of León.

The portico has three arches that correspond to each of the three naves of the church, supported by thick piers with pilasters. The central arch is the largest (twice than each side), is the only one who has tympanum and is divided by a central column, the mullion, with the figure of Saint James. Vertically, the lower band is formed by the bases of the columns, decorated with fantastic animals, the middle strip consists of columns supporting the statues of the Apostles and attached the upper arches crowning the three doors. The sculpture is intended as an iconographic representation of different symbols taken from the Apocalypse of St. John and other texts of the Old Testament.

http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/lavozdelaemigracion/2008/06/18/00031213802385522567981.htm

Hugo is the  Senior Sculpture Conservator, at the V&A.

His work involves looking after the sculpture collections at the V&A, that include sculpture of different procedences from European to Indian and Chinese, we work all materials from stone to terracotta, plaster ivory etc..

He physically works on the objects in order to make them stable and recover, as much as posible, their original look preserving all the characteristics and history.

He researches new conservation technicques as well as the original materlas and techniques of the objects.

He coordinates the sculpture loans that go from the V&A to different Institutions around the world, wich involves sometimes travelling with them to supervise their transit and installation.

Hugo is a conservation coordinator for some of the new projected in the Museum that involve sculptures, where he is part of a work team from the earlier stages of the design of the new galleries.

I would like to take this opportunity to also talk a bit about the V&A and how I found the spirit of Galicia here in london together with Hugo that day.

The V&A LONDON
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela GALICIA
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
(Galician: Catedral de Santiago de Compostela) is a Roman Catholic cathedral of the archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The cathedral is the reputed burial-place of Saint James the Greater, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. It is the destination of the Way of St. James, a major historical pilgrimage route since the Early Middle Ages. The building is a Romanesque structure with later Gothic and Baroque additions.
This is truly a magical pilgrim point for many people each year.
The tradition is that after a long pilgrim walk they all gather here to lay down infront of the cathedral to view it in reverse perspective. I did not pilgrim as such but I did try doing so and this is a picture of me laying on the ground viewing the cathedral and it seemed as if it was the gate of heaven. Very enigmatic. I am not a catholic however I can really appreciate this experience.
This is the replication of the Pórtico da Gloria in the V&A LONDON life size
ALl pilgrims used to as there first point of contact to the cathedral after the strenuous walk place there hand on the central piller which has the indentation of many years of pilgrim hands reshaping the stone.

Hugo showed me around the V&A and I had learned so much that day. I really start appreciating the V&A from a very different and more personal experience.

The person to create the V&A was an extraordinary person with a very great Vision.

Vision needs commemoration so here is a little about the story of how the V&A was created:

Sir Henry Cole (15 July 1808 – 18 April 1882) was an English civil servant and inventor who facilitated many innovations in commerce and education in 19th century Britain.

As one of the Commissioners, Cole was instrumental in the decision that the £186,000 surplus from the Great Exhibition would be used for improving science and art education in the United Kingdom. Land was purchased in the South Kensington area and developed as the centre for a number of educational and cultural institutions, known half-jokingly as “Albertopolis“.

Henry Cole was appointed the first General Superintendent of the Department of Practical Art, set up by the government to improve standards of art and design education in Britain with reference to their applicability to industry. In this capacity he was instrumental in the development of the Victoria and Albert Museum which had begun as the Museum of Ornamental Art in Marlborough House. Cole oversaw its move to its current site, and became first director of what was initially called South Kensington Museum from 1857 to 1873. In 1974 a part of the museum that was once known as the Huxley Building was renamed the Henry Cole Building; today it forms the Henry Cole Wing of the V&A. The official opening by Queen Victoria was on 22 June 1857. This was to enable in the words of Cole “to ascertain practically what hours are most convenient to the working classes” — this was linked to the use of the collections of both applied art and science as educational resources to help boost productive industry. In these early years the practical use of the collection was very much emphasised as opposed to that of “High Art” at the National Gallery and scholarship at the British Museum. George Wallis(1811–1891), the first Keeper of Fine Art Collection, passionately promoted the idea of wide art education through the museum collections.

The idea was to inspite modern manufactures with good examples of Art and design from all over the world and different hystorical periods.

The purpose was to offer a resource for designers, Artists, architects and general public with good examples of design and Art inorder to create something new.

What I appreciate most about the V&A is that it serves as a creative inspiration tank with many artefacts that have been carefully selected none discriminative of time, particular form or culture.

Unlike a normal museum were everything is filed in sections, here at the V&A you are taken by surprise as you walk through the building, constantly discovering something in a childlike curiosity.

You will find fashion,  many world wide cultural treasures past, present and future, art, jewellery  architecture many elements of wonders of the world. If you are a photographer or textile designer, painter a creative or just someone who appreciates beautiful things you are definitely going to be inspired here at the V&A.

The V&A exhibits  old design inspiring modern design. Old and new co exist together in beautiful and ever current harmony. Were ever you look it all works together.

Everyone who comes here will see it differently. Many designers like Vivian Westwood, Paul Smith all love the V&A for the very same reason as so many do….the exquisit source of inspiration.

One of the most important contribution the V&A inspires first and foremost it the importance of good craftsmanship no matter what kind of artist or designer you may be!

Everywhere you go in you will find people drawing, sketching, writing and taking pictures.

This article is actually going to be about the iconic Albarino and a pioneer wine maker from Galicia.

His son Victor Hugo Lopez Borges works here in London in the V&A for the last 12 years restoring and taking care of art.

I was so inspired during our interview, I had an deep insight of the connection of the vision of the V&A, the vision and spirit of galician traditional winemaking that also has exact parallels to my vision of Japanese kyoto culture amongst other things.

I will write more about this in part 2.

The V&A is such an important Gallery and it is for this reason I decided to give a homage in part 1 of the article before I go on to tell the story of the meeting between a pioneering galician winemaker, the son who  preserves fine art in the V&A and a japanese specialist chef.

Part 2 following shortly……..

Pastry Chef Sergio del Castillo Mora….Japanese inspirations

1,The first dessert is reflecting on the Zen Gardens in Kyoto.

 Muso Soseki, a Zen priest and poet known as the father of the Zen rock garden, was born on the west coast of Japan in 1275, and died in 1351 in a temple on the outskirts of Kyoto, where he had created one of his last rock gardens.

This inner contemplation and calm can lead to a fresh outlook and clear mind. Like a restorative balm, Zen gardening is an antidote to stresses of modern living.
The gardens are a means to discover the sources and strengths of our natural humanity which, according to Zen teaching, is poised, calm, sincere and capable of facing all matters in life with calmness and perfect composure.

2, Schichimi Macaroon

Shichimi is distinguished from ichimi tōgarashi (一味唐辛子), which is simply ground red chili pepper, and means literally “one flavor chili pepper” (ichimeaning “one”).

A typical blend may contain:

Near the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in the Northwest section of Kyoto lies Chobunya, the only shop in the city where you can get your shichimi togarashi (seven spice powder) blended just the way you like it. Shichimi togarashi may have originated from China but developed over the years into a uniquely Japanese condiment.

It dates back at least to the 17th century, when it was produced by herb dealers in Edo, current day Tokyo, and sometimes it is referred to as Yagenbori(Japanese: , from the name of the original place of production). Most shichimi sold today come from one of three kinds, sold near temples: Yagenbori (やげん堀?) sold near Sensō-ji, Shichimiya (七味家?) sold near Kiyomizu-dera, and Yawataya Isogorō (八幡屋磯五郎?) sold near Zenkō-ji.

It is more fragrant and herbal than hot and spicy, the depth of flavor comes from the seven (or more) different ingredients, typically: dried red chili pepper, roasted black and white sesame seeds, dried ground orange (citron), hemp seeds, poppy seeds, dried seaweed and my personal favorite,sansho peppercorns.

Japanese food is not typically spicy, and Kyoto cuisine is even less so. Shichimi togarashi is used as an accent to add a little kick to certain foods and is usually found at the table, in small bamboo containers, instead of in the kitchen. At home, it’s a nice condiment to have on hand: Try a sprinkling some on a steaming bowl of udon noodles, or atop a skewer of yakitori. A little of this deeply aromatic spice is all you really need.

Here you can see the blending in action. Upon walking in to these kind of shops, one is enveloped by the aroma of yuzu and pepper. The seven ingredients were contained in rectangular containers with transparent lids to show their colorful display.

There is a recommended standard mix, but customers can specify a little more sansho, red pepper or any favorite ingredient to taste. The  Kyoto’s blend is typically less spicy than togarashi found in other regions.

3, Choux Pastry with a almond and red miso crust filled with Tamagozake flavoured white bean

This dessert is inspired by Japanese Wagashi principles.

Wagashi are delicious traditional Japanese confectionaries that embody the four seasons and masterfully fashioned by artisans – a skill that has been passed on from generation to generation – to represent various motifs of nature and come in all colours and shapes and are a feast for the eyes as they are for the mouth…

The main ingredients used are beans, grains, sesame seeds, potatoes, various fruits and nuts, and sugar.  They are low in calories and high in vegetable protein and therefore very healthful.  This is principally why the Japanese have been enjoying Wagashi for centuries and the reason so many health-conscious Westerners are now progressively including them into their diets.

These flavoursome edible works of art can be eaten between meals, as a dessert and when drinking tea.  As a matter of fact, they were traditionally served during the tea ceremony, known as Chanoyu, to sweeten the palate which would counteract the bitter taste of matcha, a powdered tea whisked with hot water to make an earthy-tasting froth-like beverage.  Furthermore, it was through the popularity of the tea ceremony that a large number of Wagashi became available, and over the years, they gradually developed into the exquisite confectionaries loved by many today.

4, A new interpretation of Tart Tatin

You can read all about this in my article about the egg of Dali and the Tatin sisters