Introduction to Japanese table ware

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Unlike western tradition  Japanese table ware is a very refined and significant subject. It is so detailed that it requires one to really write a book alone about this.

Western table ware which is mainly white and consists basically of dinner plate, side plate, soup dish, salad bowl etc Japanese eating vessels consists of Bamboo, laquer, porcelain, earthen ware, natural leaves and other natural twigs depending on season and also glass.

Glass art has a relatively short history in Japan. The Japanese have historically viewed the transparent, hard material as foreign and somewhat exotic, and they have only recently made utilitarian glass part of everyday life. The Portuguese introduced glassblowing to Japanese craftsmen in the 18th century and, although Nagasaki glassblowers made highly prized vessels, larger-scale production only sprang up in the 19th century, laying the groundwork for top-quality cut glass in the early 1900s.

There have been influences from china like porcelain and other table ware’s that then were adapted to Japanese requirements and aesthetics. During the Haian period of Japan there were a lot a Chinese influences that then were adapted to its japanese cultural feelings and expressions developing also there own unique techniques.

Indeed how the vessels all have been found, introduced and developed though history in Japan is absolutely fascinating.

The eating sequence of a basic western meal would be a starter main and dessert were else japanese dinning consists of many more dishes in smaller quantity’s.

This is just very basic comparent to just introduce this subject and to get a basic understanding what the basic differences are between western plating tradition and Japanese.

When I am talking about japanese table ware I am referring to the table ware used in the Kyoto area.

I have worked in 3 star michelin restaurants in Kyoto and Tokyo that have firm roots in Kyoto and whilst working there you see the intense relationship between the chef, the seasons, the product and the plates and dishes used.

Just like the products are completely seasonal so are the dishes. In the summer lighter table ware is used to reflect a more delicate cooling summery feeling. Also the kind of leaves used are those that culturally will invoke and enhance your senses of the season.

The table ware itself always consists of bamboo, glass  porcelain, laquer and earthen ware and some leaves or natural vessel basically however the way the colours or how they are made differ in the way that it will fit to each season. Now this is the key to understanding the subject of the japanese table ware – that itself it contains also some spirit of cultural and historic and natural elements.

Working in Kyoto with these incredible chefs I have had the pleasure to see the chefes personal collections of incredible tableware. The chefs will have different vessels for different occasions, seasons and events specifically.

The chefs often collect vessels that are hundreds of years old which is only a set of 4 bowls that are the same and for a different table they will use a deferent set from his collection.

They will also have relations with various artist of there choice that will produce very specific and special pieces for them.

The chef of course would use the very special dishes for very specific occasions and customers and generally would have a mix of antique pieces ans well as new.

Generally in the west as well as in Japan the VIP tables would have a special selection.

Pottery is one of the most refined arts of Japan and I recommend anyone to visit an Artist and even take a class to just experience how special the techniques and artistry is.

In Kyoto there are many potter Artist and everyone has there own unique speciality.

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For a very serious Kyoto chef the choice of what table ware he would use reflects his artistic and authentic level as much as the food does. This is a very Japanese cultural aspect of appreciating every detail of a dinning experience. Usually a dinning of its highest calibre in Japan Kyoto can be 5 hours plus. The dinner does not just eat but it is a work that happens between the dinner and the chef.

Fow me personally just laying eyes of the fine japanese ceramics, especially tea ceremony ceramics brings a peace and very special sense to my inner hart and soul. For me the beauty of this is so hard to describe. I just want to explain that the ceramic process becomes so devine because it is a perfect relation ship between man and nature and if you like something devine and it expresses itself when the ceramists puts it in the kiln that is were the magic happens as something that emerges after it is burned is like a photograph of divinity and man at its best, that the ceramists did not have any power of as to how it will come out – that is the enigma of ceramics. It has a presence!

I find it healing, earthing, and balancing to see such ceramics and can find myself just looking at it loosing myself it it in the most positive way.

The tea ceremony tradition is strongly reflected in all aspects of Kaiseki and very much so in the table ware to.

Here are some examples:

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CHAWAN (Tea Bowls)
The chawan, or tea bowl, is, of all the tea utensils, the most familiar to Westerners and yet its significance is rarely appreciated. In its primary role as the direct connection between host and guest, it can transcend its function and take on a spirit of its own. As these bowls are used over time they mature and improve. They are ”functional art” objects which are meant to be held in one’s hand. Their tactile qualities are but one element in terms of the appreciation or connisuership of a chawan. How they function is just as important as how they look. One of their most crucial elements is the base, a part of the bowl which cannot be examined without picking up the piece & turning it upside down. A few other crucial features are the drinking lip, how it is formed as well as glazed, and the “chadamari” or “mikomi”, the inside lower half of the chawan where the tea is actually whipped and where the tea then settles when one is finished drinking.

chaireCHAIRE (Tea Containers)
Chaire are known in English as tea caddy or tea container. These small yet precisely crafted jars are used exclusively to hold the thick, highest quality powdered green tea known as koicha. Among the various ceramic utensils used for Chanoyu (Japanese Tea Ceremony), chaire have the highest ranking, a major factor influencing their high price despite their small size.

mizusashi2MIZUSASHI (Water Containers)
Mizusashi are fresh water containers, and are one of the main utensils found in a typical tea “arrangement.” It’s function is to hold fresh water which is drawn with a bamboo ladle to the chawan where it is then used to clean the chasen (bamboo whisk) after it has been used to make tea. The same ladle is also used to draw cold water from the container to replenish the iron kettle after hot water has been drawn from it to rinse and warm the chawan as well as make the actual tea.

others2OTHER TEA CERAMICS

Hachi (Serving Bowls for Japanese Sweets or Kaiseki meal dishes)

Hanaire (Flower Vases of various sizes & shapes, including hanging types)

Chaki  (Small containers, often with a wooden lid but no brocade bag, used for usucha, [thin tea])

Futaoki (Kettle Lid rest)

Kogo (small Incense Container used in the winter months, Nov.- April)

Kensui  (Waste water Container)

Tokkuri (Sake Bottles)

Guinomi (Sake Cups)

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“I have dedicated the past twenty-four years working to contribute to the field of chadogu in Japan and throughout the world,” Milgrim wrote for an exhibition in San Francisco last year. He continued,“Using traditional materials and techniques, with one eye on the past and the other looking towards the future, my goal is to create works of art with a timeless quality. Works that simultaneously maintain their inherent function as chadogu, yet also capture a beauty that can transcend geographical and cultural boundaries and be appreciated by the uninitiated as well as the tea practitioner.”

A Potter from America by the name of RICHARD MILGRIM has a fascinating story as to how he became a ceramists in Kyoto. Through looking at his life we can look and learn, to have some insight into the world of japanese ceramics at its highest level.

The techniques and glazes used in Japan are so uniquely different to anywhere else in the world and are considered as some of the most refined art works in history.

Here is a short introduction to Richard Milgrim:

A native of New York, Milgrim first visited Japan in 1977 as a college student and traveled throughout the country, researching ceramics and Japanese culture. After receiving a degree in Fine Arts and Japanese Studies from Antioch College, Milgrim returned to Japan in 1979 on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and simultaneously began a dedicated study of both Japanese pottery and the Japanese tea ceremony. He entered an apprenticeship with Iwabuchi Shigeya, Master Potter in Kyoto while also studying at the headquarters of the Urasenke Tradition.  Milgrim’s first one-man show was held in Kyoto in 1981. He then went on to study with Master Potters in the traditional styles of Hagi, Bizen and Mino over the next 3 years. In 1984 Milgrim acquired an abandoned house in the village of Yotsuya (near Kyoto) and built his own kiln. Dr. Sen Soshitsu, then the 15th generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tea Tradition, named the kiln Richado-Gama, a truly rare honor as the Chinese characters are not only pronounced the same as Richard’s name in English, but each of them is inseparably related to who and what Milgrim is and does.

RICHADO-GAMA , name of Milgrim’s kiln in Japan
RI  from Rikyu (1521-1591 AD), Dr. Sen’s ancestor, considered the father of the modern day tea ceremony
CHA , meaning tea
DO , meaning earth or clay
GAMA , meaning kiln

Since 1985 Milgrim has exhibited extensively throughout Japan and worldwide.  In 2000 he established a second home & studio in Concord, Massachusetts. Over the past decade he has been “commuting ” between the U.S. & Japan expanding traditions in the field of “Chatou” (tea ceramics).

Three months to complete from planning. Documentary is not supposed to not chase scene scene , the number of days it takes absolutely. You have to finish edit from a large shooting data comes.The work of the first issue of TAKE SHOOT formed, I took a picture in full-length videos EOS MOVIE potter Sato烓氏. Canon 7D · 60D, 24-70mm lens used equipment is F2.8L, other stabilizer, shotgun microphone, pin microphone, compact IC recorder, Sony HD monitor shutter, tripod, PC set. Please see the earthen vessel creative process of ceramic artist Sato烓氏please.
Shooting / editing Kojima Shinya, steel / progression Yas friend Yasuhiro, Director / shooting Kazuhiko Yamaguch

Japanese master artists, Tsujimura Shiro and Suzuki Goro along with American artists Richard Milgrim and Jeff Shapiro, demonstrated throwing the tea bowl while discussing its aesthetic and philosophical relevance to the tea ceremony. This event was one feature of a weekend of events celebrating the tea bowl (March 12 – 14th) in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts, Japan Society – Boston and the Lacoste Gallery, Concord, MA

The Cycle of Love – Ben Shewry – Attica Restaurant

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Ben Shewry as born and raised in humble and rural North Taranaki, New Zealand. He determined at age five that he would be a chef and worked in his first kitchen at age ten. He apprenticed at Wellington’s Roxborough Bistro under Mark Limacher then Michael Lambie and Andrew McConnell in Melbourne and David Thompson at Nahm in London. This last experience also prompted a visit to Thailand, where he fell in love with the local cuisine, spending the next six years of his spare time developing his Thai cooking skills.

Returning to Melbourne, he opened Attica in Ripponlea. The restaurant has achieved terrific success. Ben was named ‘Best New Talent’ by Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine in 2008 and voted ‘Chef of the Year’ for the Age’s Good Food Guide 2010.

Today, Ben lives on the Bellarine Peninsula, by the sea, where he can forage himself ingredients every morning for that day’s menu.

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ETXEBARRI the art of fire

This is one of my favourite places in the world. A dream, you are in the midst of nature everything is local and natural. I feel such an affinity here as it is just like japan completely seasonal and regional cooked with the utmost mastery and love.

Etxebarri is a tavern/restaurant in Axpe, Spain, halfway between San Sebastian and Bibao.

In japan the art of fire is one we hold so dear and to find someone that with all his hart cultivated his art to such distinction and sophistication from fire is a kind of a miracle experience for me.

The world has cooked with fire since the stone ages but no one has such subtle fine-tuning as Victor Arguinzoniz the Chef and owner. To create a menu from beginning to end all with the element of fire is mind-blowing.

His philosophy and work is one of the most established full rounded concepts and would consider him world ranking master of his art.

Dont be fooled to think this is just good grilling or anything that you normally find this is subtleties and refinement of preciseness cultivated from family tradition and years of close affinity to this particular developed technique. It is very personal to Victor, the land and his life experience.

Victor Arguinzoniz is also an incredible human being. I would like to mention he is one of the kindest and loving chefs. He was so generous to us sharing everything. I find myself only looking up to Victor with highest regards and he taught me to revive my on culinary culture through his refinement of fire. I am blessed to have been to Etxebarri and met Victor and really hope to return.

Here is a little about the restaurant:

Care and instinct under the discipline of fire and primitive cooking techniques, where simplicity and warmth of the grill inspire a natural landscape.

Wistfulness, with an adventure spirit for knowledge; tasting flavours, and rediscovering that space and time are imperceptible.

Knowledge is a collective good, a fountain of youth from which everyone can drink. Restoring local productions, seasonal and traditional, helps us collectively participate in the dance to which we are invited. Considering the daily work and identity, a certain world view away from the rigid dogmas of the common imagination, cultural colonialism, an authentic experience, deep.

The produce is paramount to Etxebarri and reflects the changing seasons throughout the year. Everything is carefully chosen in respect to the type of product and its method of its cultivation. Located in the verdant valley of Atxondo, the landscape surrounding the restaurant is dominated by Mount Anboto, the 1300 metre limestone peak that provides the restaurant with an abundance of local produce. From the holm oak trees we use to make our own charcoal, through to woodland mushrooms, wild berries and seasonal game.

Even the water we use comes from the natural spring that filters down the valley. On the lower slopes, our free-roaming chickens provide us with the freshest free range eggs, whilst we select a variety of organic vegetables from the garden on a daily basis. Other products made in-house include the cured chorizo, freshly churned butter, hand pressed chesses, black pudding, ice-creams and even smoked wild salmon.

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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

cook it raw…Japan

“Cook it Raw sees avant-garde chefs and traditional food producers come together to create a unique dining experience that explores social, cultural and environmental issues.

In the shadows of the great Mount Haku-san, an expedition takes place to discover the sustainable fabric behind Japanese gastronomy. Cook It Raw for it’s fourth instalment discovers the prefecture of Ishikawa, and immerses itself in ancient rituals and methods have been passed down from generation to generation, enriching the local cultural soil for centuries.A culinary experiment where the chefs create a dish using only the products found in region of Japan, famed for its dedication to harnessing intricate flavour while respecting natures boundaries.Ishikawa Prefecture is also an established artisanal hub in Japan, and each chef was teamed up with a local artist to collaborate on the creation of a dish.Each dish was presented on a plate made by a local artisans from the famed Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, in Kanazawa City. Fifteen artisans from Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, in Kanazawa City where selected, and each one created a dish using traditional Japanese techniques infused by the contemporary vision of the chefs.

The 4 day adventure saw the group immerse themselves completely in local traditions.

Exploring the fish auctions of Nanao City in the Northerly Noto Peninsula. Foraging in the Satoyama forest of the Kaga Hills.

Attempting to hunt duck’s with the ancient technique of Sakaami Ryo.

Tasting and matching the most emblematic sake’s to their dishes.

sleeping and dining in the traditional Ryokans of Yamashiro and Yamanaka Onsen.

the chefs then meditated their experiences and presented their discoveries on a dish at a gala dinner on the final night. The final dinner was titled “Shoku-do”, which translates as “The way of food”.

the dishes where infused by their discovery of Japan, and anecdotal moments of their expedition were present in the naming of each chef’s creation.”

In 2012 they went to Poland check the link below:

http://www.cookitraw.org/

http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/cook-it-raw-2011-japan.htm

http://eater.com/archives/2011/12/16/cook-it-raw-2011.php

 

Little POP UP shop in Rochester by Flavours of Spain

ψPop up 4th October- 31st December 10.30-5pm closed Sunday and Monday  * this is not your normal Spanish foody shop!!!!

I visited Theresa and Ana  to investigate there sweet little POP UP shop in Rochester Kent.

On entering the shop there is a wonderful authentic aroma coming from all the incredible delicious products Ana and Theresa carefully handpicked for us to try here in the UK.

Flavours of Spain was founded by Ana Caballero and Teresa Holmes a dynamic and happy Spanish-English collaboration team. Flavours of Spain has grown in reputation as suppliers of some of the country’s finest artisan produce and limited-production wines, specialising in Galicia and the north of the country.

I am a complete appreciator of specialist artisan producers and there refinde as well as important work,producing clean natural flavours all handcrafted foods by very special families throughout spain. The producers flavours of spain work with are exactly my kind of people and all my producers are exactly as devotes as I am about producing something. They are completly passionate, up keeping old traditions of cultivating these unique products and I assure you it is so worth visiting – Ana and Theresa’s PoP UP shop to taste there unique and authentic treasures from Spain.

Spanish goods are in abundance however this particular level of fineness is very rare and flavours of spain represent this niche at it’s best indeed. The secret to there successes you may ask…..is pure pure passion!!!

To be able to offer what they do is very labour intensieve and commands a devoted and passionate commitment that I have not seen anywhere the way Ana and Theresa embody this.

All I can tell you they are here in the uk, they do many activity’s visiting markets near you also occasionally host supper clubs….you must go with some friend as they will host you with charm telling you all about every single products story and with laughter and warmth that will warm anyones cockles.

The shop is so cuite and villagy in a house that feels like an old ship, crooked and full of character.

The little town of Rochester also magically evokes a small resemblance and senses of Galicia Santiago.

Instead of the cathedral they have a caste ruin and a story of medieval wars and world war 2 battles.

Its 30-45 min from London so well worth the trip.

Here is a little report of what foods I had the absolute pleasure of tasting and a little about my day in Rochester:

Rochester Castle stands on the east bank of the River Medway in Rochester, Kent, South East England. The 12th-century keep or stone tower, which is the castle’s most prominent feature, is one of the best preserved in England or France.
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, rallies the younger horsemen at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 There was a lot of fighting over power going on here between the King and the Bishop.
Rochester Cathedral.
There is a big historic event that took place her. I surgets you come down to investigate Rochester’s History and then visit Ana and Theresa in the Pop up 5 min away from the Castle of Rochester.
Walking down this charming little town road you will find Flavours of Spain’s little POP UP shop
Next to flavours of spain is a cute old little lady’s afternoon tea place with flowery teacups and cakes. The Little Pop up shop “flavours of spain”  has a little dining area and mini garden
Ana and Theresa are so loveable and passionate always ready to tell you everything about the products. You could not get a warmer welcome anywhere!
Always making people feel welcome and sharing a laugh together with there visitors.
I have attached a very good video about the situation and culture of Iberico. It is important to know as many low quality claiming to be iberico’s are being sold throughout the world and it is important to learn a little about this incredible culture of Iberico.
On the left is PALETA the front leg of the pig. The one on the right is the JAMON back leg of the Iberico. These are from the La Dehesa naturally the iberico bigs feed from Oct-Febuary on the Achorns naturally. This breed is Iberian Lampiño. The race is named after the place where it has developed over centuries, the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian pig is the clearest representative of extensive pig in Spain, a traditional support of our important ecosystems of the Mediterranean forest, the meadow.
They have only been open 1 week  however the little town of Rochester has already taken to Ana’s and Theresa’s warm harted Pop up venture.
I really like the way they have displayed everything here in the shop it looks really beautiful everything is showing off its natural and individual beauty.
These are natural honey’s from Galicia. Flavours are deepy natural
These is beautiful handmade cheese and the skinn alone the textures and colours look so beautiful of all the cheeses from Flavours of spain
This cheese is incredible in every way:
it is made with 3 different kind of milks: cows, goats and sheep.
the blue veining is completely natural. Most cheeses are injected.
This cheese is then matured in natural caves.
The flavour is complex and dense however very natural and clean. This is super unique and phenomenal. Try cooking a really best stack from your artisan butcher well aged, medium rare and this cheese on top for a complete umami bomb….oh and of course with a really nice goblet of finest red wine. I would call this a celtic supper to have in the Rochester fortress ruins.
This cheese is called CABRALES a name fit for a legendary cheese!
This is not any old saffron oh no…it is according to the gourmet guide “the best saffron from Spain at the moment”
This is a special re wine from DUMIA close to my friend Pepe Solla in Solla Restaurant were he serves this wine to.
The wine is made by Miguel Alfonso and it is BIODYNAMIC. The name is Do Umia make sure you let the air breath 30 min before drinking. Such a natural beautiful and clean wine.
This beauty is the “Iberian Cheese” Goats that graze amongst the iberican pigs also eating the acorns hence the cheese having this luscious nutty flavour.
This is MANCHEGO – officially the best artisan Manchego of spain 2010-2011-2012  from the La Mancha Region made with raw Ewes milk
On the left Austurian cheese made of cows and goats milk matured in cider called SIDRA. On the right from MENORKA a raw cows milk cheese matured in wooden oak barrels called MAHON.

This is one of my favourite experience of that day:
a cured beef please ask Ana to show you this with olive oil and toasted almonds together and Wine ………a must!!!!!
Super Gold Awarded Ewes milk Cheese matured in exquisit olive oil dried off. The skinn has slight green complexions and is best eaten after 1 year resting.
My other top favourite cheese of the day. A goats cheese from Malaga also Super Gold Awarded, bathed in olive oil and the vacuum packed for amazing infusion. Completely devine and out of the ordinary!!!!
Very importantly about all the caned foods sold at flavours of spain is they are all steamed then the best of olive oil is used to cover the product and all packed by hand. All these products are only produced only in the season.
Cured Venison with chopped almonds and extra virgin olive oil

Ana na Theresa have many little events going on over the next 3 months here in the POP UP take a look at there website.

The shop is closed Sunday’s and Monday’s the shop is open for 3 months.

Pre-christmas and christmas goodies for real foodie’s absolutely delicious.

If you want to come and visit with some friends e-mail Ana and Theresa they can surely organise a tasting afternoon for you. Ana makes incredible galician octopus and the famous squid ink empanada’s and much more.

check blog from flavours of food for up dates:

http://flavoursofspain.tumblr.com/

Sorry was raining a bit so board chalk was a bit washed away:

New Peruvian Japanese Fusion Restaurant Barcelona…by Ferran

When ever there is a japanese restaurant opening anywere in the world, especially Ferran’s….I am SUPER interested!!!!

Japanese cuisine is my life and my passion. I am probably more a japanese restaurant then a person.

I am constantly investigating and learning. I could not have any better occupation as this truly keeps me learned.

The realms of japanese food culture is imbedded in art, philosophy, spirituality, poetry, culture, architecture, poetry  porcelain,methods, techniques,nature, …the facets are diverse, devine and so incredibly refined enough to keep minds busy for century’s to come.

For me the fascination for japanese cuisine and culture, the history the imagination and passion  will never ever fade.

I am definitely not alone with these feelings, as japan ignites many chefs to find new ways in there culinary search for evolution, aiding in many new investigations making japan ever more relevant for all chefs of all generations and nationalities.

Japan century’s ago was hosting a style of eating and cooking philosophy’s that was incredibly futuristic and suitable for modern society to come.

Ferran Adria has always loved Japanese cuisine and now he will open a 30 seater restaurant right next door to Tickets in Barcelona featuring “NIKKEI” which is the peruvian japanese fusion that exists in peru for more then 120 years.

He will focus on certain vegetables carefully selected from Japan and south america for his new menu.

Nikkei is a term usually used for Japanese people who migrate:

The Japanese migration, and its individual members known as nikkei (日系), are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants that reside in a foreign country. Emigration from Japan first happened and was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines, but did not become a mass phenomenon until the Meiji Era, when Japanese began to go to North America, beginning in 1897 with 35 emigrants to Mexico; and later Latin America, beginning in 1899 with 790 emigrants to Peru. There was also significant emigration to the territories of the Empire of Japan during the colonial period; however, most such emigrants repatriated to Japan after the end of World War II in Asia.

According to the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, there are about 2.5 million nikkei living in their adopted countries. The largest of these foreign communities are in Brazil, the United States, and the Philippines. Descendants of emigrants from the Meiji Era still hold recognizable communities in those countries, forming separate ethnic groups from Japanese peoples in Japan.

Nobu also is a global Nikkai and his first place to migrate was Peru about 35 years ago:

Most famous and pioneering Peruvian/ Japanese fusion Chef  NOBU MATSUHISA has 42 japanese Peruvian fusion restaurants worldwide.

Nobu in Peru

Here is a short comment from Nobu as to how he migrated to Peru:

When Nobu was 24 he was working in Tokyo at Matsuai restaurant were he met a “Nikkei” from Peru:

“At Matsuei I met a Peruvian of Japanese descent who used to stop in for sushi about twice a year. One day – I was about 24 – he asked me quite seriously if I would consider moving with him to Peru to open a sushi restaurant. It was a dream come true, and I agreed at once. My father was a lumber merchant who died when I was seven. Whenever I felt sad, I used to stare at a photograph of him taken on the Pacific island of Palau, where he had once traveled to buy lumber. I wanted to be like my father. Staring at the photo I knew that I too would go overseas some day.

Lima was the perfect town for a sushi chef. With the Pacific Ocean nearby, fresh fish was never in short supply. And at the time – about 35 years ago – there were only three or four other Japanese restaurants in town. Yet Mitsubishi and many other big Japanese corporations had invested in Peru, so there were plenty of Japanese businessmen looking for good sushi.

I was a 49% stakeholder in the restaurant, but I had to do everything. Just as I had done during my apprentice days in Japan, I opened and cleaned the restaurant, put together the menus and made basic sauces. Back then you couldn’t jog down to the corner store to buy fish paste or other specialized Japanese ingredients, so I created everything from scratch, through trial and error. A lot of what I experimented with in Peru became part of my repertoire later on.”

The rest is history leading Nobu to be the most successful japanese chef world wide.

Peruvian and japanese fusion is still an exiting cuisine prospect and there is so much room for more investigations and developments.

I always felt it is important to refresh and reignite the work that Nobu has set such high bars for.

With the current peruvian/ south american global wave it is now of course the best opportunity to work with this wonderful and exiting concept of peruvian “Nikkei” cuisine.

The atmosphere of peruvian japanese food is very fun and upbeat suitable for the multicultural social, fashionistas and foodies alike.

Traditional Japanese is much more serious and demands a lot of deep knowledge, understanding and training apart form many other factores that are not easy to master or be respected for if you yourself are not from japan.

Upon many restaurants world wide copying Nobus style and menu has left a kind of confused in many people’s understanding of what real japanese food is.

To date there are not many japanese restaurants that are really japanese. Mostly the concepts get modified and customised for europeans.

Traditional Japanese food is perhaps difficult to convey in fast moving western societies so far from japan as it would require a lot of elements that are not readily available. As well there are required setting and atmospheres that  are important. In my experience staffing that have the skills required and the cultural education for example as tea ceremony “Cha Keiseki” and so on is not easy to employ.

I do feel it is not impossible however it takes a dedication and disciplin to establish that is incredibly intense and requires financial considerations.

It is so specific that many shy away from this prospect as heavy criticism follows by the japanese themselves.

In Kyoto having visited many masters, they rarely say about the other that they are great ( they dont say anything bad it is in the posture and look ). There is a kind of view of each other that is very hard to describe. Lets say there is a lot of pride which I do not condem, I understand the mentality and respect it to however it can be very hard.

Ferran Adria claims that Japanese Cuisine has had the biggest influence on his cooking career.

All over spain many  great chefs like Quique-Dacosta, Dani Garcia, Joan Roca and many more, all have a special place in there hart and influences from japanese techniques and ingredients in there menu’s.

Back in July, it was announced that Ferran Adria was teaming up with brother and business partnerAlbert Adria to open a Japanese restaurant in Barcelona. Details about the venture had been scarce until now.

In an interview with Peruvian publication El Comercio, Ferran said he was excited about returning to the kitchen. He explained the restaurant was Albert’s idea and will accomodate only 30 diners. The yet-to-be-named restaurant will feature Nikkei cuisine, a style of cooking native to Peru which blends Peurvian and Japanese ingredients and techniques.

When asked if he intended to reinvent fusion, Ferran insisted the restaurant will be strictly a blend of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine but with one exception: ”We want to incorporate – something that doesn’t exist in the Japanese or Peruvian cooking – working with vegetables.”

As for Nikkei cuisine, Ferran is passionate about bringing it to the international spotlight. ”In Japan, if you talk about Nikkei, they don’t know what it is, it’s incredible…The best part of Nikkei cooking is that it allows you to be more free…this type of cuisine is still being built and there is a long way to go, and this is fantastic,” he said.

Opening a Nikkei restaurant may seem odd at first but Ferran has been a fan of Japanese food for a longtime. The chef recently acknowledged  Japanese food influenced his last 10 years at elBulli, which was named the world’s best restaurant a whopping five times.

Ferran and Albert also plan to open a Mexican restaurant in Barcelona, all while keeping busy with the elBulli Foundation projects.

The news isn’t much of a surprise, given that the brothers have made several moves in the past year that suggest a desire for expansion: first there was Tickets and 41 Degrees, then the Mexican project, then a store, then a cocktail bar in London, and now this.

Not to mention their fascination with Japanese food, which became a major influence on the cooking at elBulli in the restaurant’s last decade. In an Eater interview last year, for instance, Ferran noted, “I didn’t go to Asia until 2002, when I went to China, Thailand, and Japan. And you could say that in the last five or six years, Japan has been and continues to be a major influence on my cooking.”

(Info in this article is from eater and fine dining lovers and link below for el comercio:

http://elcomercio.pe/gastronomia/1473137/noticia-ferran-adri-y-gaston-acurio-dejan-huella-solidaria-g9-japon

Ferran will bring a very upbeat and exiting experience to Barcelona also it will be very fantastic for all the world to see his new creations of his 2 biggest passions Japan and Peru.

I really cant wait 🙂

Nikkei cuisine is no stranger to Barcelona, and while the world awaits the new restaurant of Ferran and you want to try some Nikkei in Barcelona right now you can go here:

Komomoto, a decidedly hip, casual restaurant; nestled in Barcelona’s trendy El Born district.

Sleek, architectural interiors are given a stylish informal edge by a wall of hipster photographs and illustrations, industrial dangling lightbulbs and Ingo Maurer‘s post-it note chandeliers. The food too follows this line of slick modernity fused with offbeat cool with ceviches,  sushi – the wild salmon with chipotle sauce maki rolls etc – and lick-lipping noodles all impressing. Stylish, innovative and ideally located for some serious bar-hopping.

Dont forget to go to Tickets and 41 degrees, they are not Nikkei but really fantastic!!!

I had an amazing evening and Albert had some japanese fusion dishes that day which vere really fabulous. If you’re going to Barcelona book…it’s a must!!!!!

BOOK IN ADVANCE!!!!!

I love Tickets

I will write a separate article of TICKETS soon……

The man who never cooks without his hat…Mark Veyrat

 grand chef cuisinier

Marc Veyrat (born 8 May 1950) is a French chef from the Haute-Savoie region, who specialises in molecular gastronomy and the use of mountain plants and herbs. Although he is hardly known in the American culinary scene, he is one of the most famous chefs in the European restaurant scene.

Veyrat is considered by some to be the best chef in the world. He obtained a total of six Michelin Stars (three stars for each of his first two restaurants). Also, he is the first cook to get the perfect grade of 20/20 in the Gault-Millau guide, for his two restaurants. However, André Gayot wrote that “many, including [Veyrat], consider this score a tad exaggerated and more a public relations fantasy than a serious appreciation.”

He was the owner of the restaurants la Maison de Marc Veyrat (or l’Auberge de l’Eridan) in Veyrier-du-Lac and la Ferme de mon Père in Megève.

On 24 February 2009, he announced that he would cease all of his activities at la Maison de Marc Veyrat due to his declining health. The hotel is currently being run by his children.

Marc Veyrat is known for his creativity and use of natural and organic ingredients. He specialises in “molecular gastronomy” what ever that may mean, I probably would say he is a Svengali of natural mountain herbs and foods creatively transforming them into culinary art and amazements  .  He is a major pioneer and forward thinker with passion bigger then the Alps. Rather than using butter, flour, eggs, oil, or cream, he instead uses roots, mountain plants, mountain herbs, and wild flowers harvested in the French Alps.

The celebrated French chef Marc Veyrat, who held six Michelin stars between his two restaurants, will open an ambitious culinary complex at some point in 2013.

L’Express reports that the 250-acre property will be located in Manigod, where Veyrat grew up, and have a serious emphasis on sustainability and ecology. Veyrat will oversee a fifteen-seat restaurant, a botanical garden, and host students who’ve come to enjoy the natural setting. He’ll also teach 150 Euro cooking classes to ten guests at a time so they can “learn to cook six modern dishes and amaze their friends.” “People will not be coming to a restaurant,” said Veyrat. “People will be coming to my house.”

One of the things I must do as soon as I can, being a poor chef is frustrating at times when you should be sitting and dinning with Mark Veyrat.

http://www.marcveyrat.fr/

Noma has a new face

“In an effort to shape our way of cooking, we look to our landscape and delve into our ingredients and culture,
hoping to rediscover our history and shape our future
.”

The design should never be in focus but like a delicate, white, clean plate present the Noma creations in the best possible way and be a subtle supplement to the experience.

The website was not designed to reflect the restaurant experience, as that would be impossible. The purpose is simply to provide the basic information.

We have strived to create a structure that is simple, relevant and intuitive. And by follwing our blog – “The wheather report” – it should never be static but dynamic as our menus and everything else we do in order to make a better experience for our guests.

http://noma.dk/

 

While Rene was in London to do his pop up event in London Claridges his restaurant was having a new face lift.

Full article is in the elpais.com by Thomas Ibsen