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Chef's Choice - Barry Wine

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 Barry Wine

I guess Nouvelle Cuisine was what we were doing, but our tasting menus for Nouvelle Cuisine looked Japanese.

The Quilted Giraffe started in New Paltz, New York in 1975 as a really simple restaurant. At that point, I was a working lawyer, and I had never been to Japan. My wife, Susan, had an art gallery, clothing store, and toy store––separate little businesses in one tiny store. In order to get more business, we said, “Let’s have a restaurant, and we’ll get ladies to come for lunch and go shopping.” The name came about when, coincidentally, somebody came into the art gallery and said, “I want to do an exhibition of my quilts,” and the quilts had pictures of giraffes on them. So we bought all of the quilted giraffes and hung them on the walls. It was kind of simple. I mean, not sophisticated. It looked like a children’s nursery.

The Quilted Giraffe didn’t have any Japanese influences until after 1983, several years after we moved to New York. Before that, I had been to France and saw this thing called a “tasting menu”––degustation is what they call it. A tasting menu is many courses served in small portions. That was one of the things that The Quilted Giraffe pioneered. We were probably the first restaurant to serve a tasting menu in America. Not even the French restaurants here were doing it.

A tasting menu is very difficult to do. In a typical meal, the customer gets two or three courses. With a tasting menu, you’re giving them 10 courses, so you’re cooking a lot of food! Timing is very important, and with respect to timing, the smaller the ingredients are cut up, the faster they cook. At The Quilted Giraffe, I was doing that to make multiple courses, but the dishes started looking Japanese because of the way the ingredients were cut. I was always interested in dishware, and I liked the way Japanese food was presented in magazines. I guess Nouvelle Cuisine was what we were doing, but our tasting menus for Nouvelle Cuisine looked Japanese.

In 1983, there were many Japanese in New York, buying real estate, eating and drinking wine, and wanting to learn about everything American. Many were guests at The Quilted Giraffe. One day a Japanese customer said to me, “Your food looks Japanese. Why don’t you go to Japan, and I’ll introduce you to some people. You’ll get to see some Japanese restaurants.” So that’s how the Japanese influence at The Quilted Giraffe came about.

(Click here for a free PDF download of Barry Wine's complete mini memoir.)