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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

Welcome to 2019! 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

In terms of cooking, the main language in the kitchen––the only language––is good taste and good food.

When I first started studying cooking in Switzerland, I thought that after I mastered German and French, the rest would be easy. I thought, “Okay, ta-da! I’m learning German now. I’m learning French.” But it didn’t get easier once I mastered the languages. That’s when I realized that language is important. But in terms of cooking, the main language––the only language––is good taste and good food.

Every day our meetings were in German, and the menu was in French. Then I had to communicate back with the guys I worked with in Munich. So it was always this back and forth, back and forth. It was organized chaos, so mistakes happened all the time. And we got yelled at all the time. I think I was cursed at in every language there is––and it always sounded the same. But getting yelled at helped me develop the ability to exchange ideas with people. Now I appreciate all those different curses and insults thrown in my face in all those different languages. I learned that if I wanted to be a chef, I was going to get yelled at a lot.

My goal was not to get yelled at, and then I became the guy who told staff, “Don’t do this or that,” but I didn’t yell.

As a young chef, when my bosses yelled at me, I threw up. I even cried. At that time, I was so young that I didn’t really know how to handle it. But the stress always made a big knot in my belly. I would run to the bathroom, throw up, come back out, and work. But I couldn’t give up. I was the representative of my family, so it wasn’t just about me. No, no. It was also about my mom and my dad and my sister––everyone who helped me get a scholarship to study cooking in Switzerland. That’s why, once I got here, I knew that if I got yelled at it didn’t matter.

There are some chefs who are natural yellers. Their attitude is, “It doesn’t sound like shouting to me. That’s just the way I talk.” One chef I worked for was like that. He was much older than I was. And he just spoke in one voice—loud! He was screaming all the time. When I came to work, he’d shout, “Good morning!” When he yelled at me to come to his office, I had no idea what would happen. He might say, “I’m sending you … go now.” Or it could be, “You did a good job.” Or, “Get the hell out of here.” It didn’t matter. It was always in the same loud tone. At least he was consistent. He came from a different generation. He had a lot of pressure on him every day and just never let his guard down. But he got everything he wanted. We did everything for him, and he did everything for us. There was never a problem with communication. I still think about him to this day.

There was no way I could quit, so I had to figure out ways to hide from the yelling. I joked, “Choose your torture. Which one do you want––the knife or the words?” My goal was not to get yelled at, and then I became the guy who told staff, “Don’t do this or that,” but I didn’t yell.

I’m not a chef who yells. I don’t think it’s a sign of strength to be a yeller. I don’t like to step out of character. I don’t like to get angry. If you’re angry when you make a meal or angry when you eat it, the food is not going to taste good. If you’re angry, you’re not focused. You’re hopeless in the kitchen. I’m very demanding, but I think there are other ways to show that I am serious.

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