Page 16 - seniors today August issue
P. 16


         Art On A Plate

        Discovering Japan, one bite at a time. By Vandana Kanoria

        In her gorgeous essay ‘In Praise of the Cooks’,        yielded by temperature and motion; the
        Midori Snyder says, “The very best of cooks            12-generation yakitori sage who uses metal
        are sorcerers, wizards, shamans and tricksters.        skewers like an acupuncturist uses needles; the
        They must be, for they are capable of  powerful        young man who has grown old at his father’s
        acts of transformation. All manner of life,            side, measuring his age in kitchen lessons, will
        mammal, aquatic, vegetable, seeds and nuts             know exactly what to do when it is his turn to be
        pass through their hands and are transformed           the master. This is Shokunin, or specialisation
        by spells — some secret, some written in books         — artisans deeply dedicated to their craft. It is
        annotated with splashes of grease and broth.”          at the core of Japanese culture, as are ingredient
         Traditional Japanese cuisine, or Washoku, is          obsession, technical precision and thousands
        one of the only three national food traditions         of years of meticulous refinement. The most
        recognised by the UN for its cultural                  famous Shokunin is of course Jiro Ono,
        significance. Tokyo was added to the Michelin          immortalised in the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
        Guide in 2007 and has since blazed forth,
        becoming the most-starred city in the world            Tapas Molecular Bar
        with 234 places listed in 2018.                        Don’t expect a typical night at Tapas
         The depth and variety of the deliciousness of         Molecular Bar. From the moment you
        Tokyo’s culinary world can be summed up in             are seated, you enter the creative realm
        one word - Shokunin. Fresh and delicate, whilst        of highly entertaining food theatre by
        there is simplicity about the food, one realises       chef Kento Ushikobu, who takes you on a
        while eating how much details matter.                  culinary journey that feels part-science,
         An 80-year-old tempura man who has spent              part-magic, and is unbelievably delicious.
        six decades discovering the subtle differences         A mysterious bandanna-wrapped black box
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