Page 18 - seniors today August issue
P. 18

Hajime                                                Daigo
        “Pay homage to nature” says Hajime.                   Nomura Yoshiko, who founded the two-Miche-
        Universe, harmony, circulation, life and love         lin-star Daigo in 1950, remained the Okami,  or
        describe the chef ’s culinary philosophy. His         lady of the establishment, until recently. Family
        greatest inspiration is the interconnectedness        run, the current Okami, Nomura Satoko, keeps
        of things. Hajime has achieved three Michelin         the tradition of Japanese hospitality alive and
        stars in the shortest period of time in the history   Nomura Daisuke, the head chef, is one of her
        of Michelin ratings.                                  three sons.
         Combining French classics with his Japanese           Seated in traditional style in one of the eight
        heritage, Chef Hajime Yoneda is a meticulously        sparsely furnished private dining rooms, with
        skilled culinary master. Transitioning from           a large glass window looking into a garden,
        being an electronic components designer to            we feasted on fifteen jaw-dropping, artistically
        becoming a professional chef, he has an artist’s      crafted courses served Kaiseki style. From bite
        eye and a poet’s vision of the world. A painter,      size nibbles, to a hearty bowl of soup with rice
        Hajime’s food is pure art. He is deeply affected      and mushrooms, each plate was decorated keep-
        by the equilibrium and harmony that exist in          ing in mind Buddhist principles and aesthetics.
        nature. The 2019 menu called Chikyu Tono              Ceramic dishes and lacquer bowls coordinated
        Taiwa or ‘Dialogue with the Earth’, includes          beautifully with food, heightening the sensory
                                                              experience of eating and fulfilling Daigo’s mis-
                                                              sion to stimulate the five senses with each bite.

                                 Elegance at Hajime
        approximately seventeen dishes, some of which          Seasonal delicacies at      Artistic treats
        are evocatively called:                                Delicate bites of different tofu preparations - a
        Life - cauliflower, black olive, tomato and rice;     Daigo speciality - soya, matcha and seasonal
        Inshore - seaweed, sansho, hatcho miso, white         Japanese fruits and vegetables, are designed to
        kidney beans;                                         allow the diner to appreciate the Tanmi or the
        Mountain – rizoni, asparagus, broad beans,            subtlety of flavours, which progress from lighter
        romanesco broccoli, green beans;                      to bolder, allowing you to savour the essence of
        Assimilation and Destruction – avocado, Asian         each main ingredient.
        hazel, pumpkin, black pepper.
         His reverence for nature is reflected in the         A vegetarian in Japan
        most innovative and beautiful dish that I             Someone once said Japan is a vegetarian
        have ever seen or eaten. Called ‘Chikyu’ or           paradise wrapped in a vegetarian hell! Being a
        Earth, it represents the cycle of life, and the       vegetarian in Japan can be difficult, although
        reconstruction of the planet in miniature,            in recent years, thanks to apps such as Happy
        through hundred and ten different vegetables,         Cow, Tokyo Veg Guide and Uber Eats finding
        grains, herbs and sea foam. “Fallen leaves from       meatless meals has become much easier.
        the forest enrich the earth, and the nutrients        The ever-resourceful Google Translate helps
        flow into the sea,” he explains. His aim? To show     to navigate the intricacies of the language.
        a culinary story about nature and time.               Courtesy, a vegetarian/vegan
                                                              can print a card stating a no meat, fish, dashi,
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