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Chef's Choice is a Unique and Inspiring Book that is a Perfect Gift for

Aspiring Culinary Students, Home Cooks, and Professional Chefs

"Chef's Choice is a beautiful book." - Marcus Samuelsson

Message from Saori Kawano, Founder and President of Korin Japanese Trading Corp

After publishing Chef’s Choice: 22 Culinary Masters Tell How Japanese Food Culture Influenced Their Careers and Cuisine in 2015, it continues to inspire and educate new and experienced chefs, culinary students, and those who love Japanese food and culture.

In this savory collection of mini memoirs, 22 culinary masters tell who and what motivated them to become chefs. They described early career influences, training, favorite Japanese ingredients, tools, and the pivotal role Japanese food culture has played in their cuisine and professional development.

Participating chefs include Nobu Matsuhisa, David Bouley, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Romano, Lee Anne Wong, Michael Anthony, Wylie Dufresne, Toshio Suzuki, Ben Pollinger, Toni Robertson, Eddy Leroux, Nils Norén, Yosuke Suga, Shinichiro Takagi, Suvir Saran, David Myers, Noriyuki Sugie, Elizabeth Andoh, Barry Wine, James Wierzelewski, and Ben Flatt.

Our goal in writing the book was to inspire, educate, and movitate student chefs, working chefs, home chefs, and everyone who admires Japanese food and culture. We wanted to go deep and learn from top chefs what it takes to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive restaurant world and the role that Japanese food culture played in their cooking and careers. We believe that the stories in Chef’s Choice can be a valuable resource for anyone pursuing a career in the restaurant business and those fascinated by Japanese food culture and cuisine.

We hope you enjoy it!

Chef's Choice Regular price $19.95 | Koirn Price: $15 Click Here

Influences - Executive Chef James Wierzelewski

I have always seen travel as part of life’s journey and an opportunity to learn.

In the late 1980s, I made my first jump out of the United States. I went from the Hyatt in Waikiki, where we had a couple of different teppan tables and a sushi bar serving some westernized Japanese dishes, to Miyako Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency on the island of Saipan. Saipan, a tiny, beautiful island about 120 miles north of Guam, is a popular vacation spot for Japanese tourists, so we incorporated a lot more traditional Japanese elements into our restaurant philosophy and concepts there. We even had quick-service noodle bars along with full dining, as well as teppan, but there was still a western slant. Unlike the Hyatt in Waikiki, all the chefs in this restaurant were from Japan except me. I was the Executive Chef

When I stepped into this kitchen, there were 10 or 15 chefs who spoke a language I didn’t know. Without a translator, I couldn’t speak fluently to any of the chefs in the kitchen. Everything was done through translation. But I could see the chefs understood the differences in menus. I saw a great sense of respect and understanding for Japanese tradition. Each person there played an important role in that kitchen, whether it was preparing hot food or cold food or working at the sushi bar. And among them, they had their own rankings. As a westerner, I tried to see the hierarchy of the kitchen and also understand and respect their principles.

The methods for making the sushi, the sauces, and the most important ingredients in any Japanese restaurant––the cooking of the rice and prep of other side dishes––were rooted in Japanese tradition all the way. All of the beverages, tableware, and food products for the restaurant were from Japan. In terms of influences, I have always seen travel as part of life’s journey and an opportunity to learn. The job in Saipan was no exception.

(Click here for a free PDF download of James Wierzelewski’s complete mini memoir.)