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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, Inc.

Welcome to 2020! It's been 5 years since we published Chef's Choice: 22 Culinary Masters Tell How Japanese Food Culture Influenced Their Careers and Cuisine and 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

Cuisine

Every chef is yearning for attention and seeking approval. A great chef has something to prove.

What makes our cooking at Gramercy Tavern so special is the personal connection, the improvisation, and the impulsiveness of it. It’s an enormous decision to use our resources in that way and to do it without losing our focus. That’s not a normal thing for a restaurant of our size. It requires communication, solidarity, and a strong sense of organization. I can work between the two––improvisation and order––as long as they don’t collide. I recognize that our chefs need spontaneity and regimentation in order to progress and develop our personal style of cooking. I say “our” because it’s not just mine. We have come to Gramercy Tavern to learn about cooking and loosely connect a group of American chefs––not American by nationality, but American by working as chefs in the United States. I think we are all contributing to an interesting progression of “American cooking.”

In terms of cooking, both French and Japanese cultures are very committed to form. This is the way you do things, and you don’t deviate because if you do you’re only asking for trouble. As long as you stick to the agreed-upon form, you will succeed in creating something of quality. When developing a personal style of cooking, we have to break a lot of classic cooking rules that we learned along the way.

At Gramercy Tavern, we are not sacrificing the discipline and persistence that it takes to challenge ourselves to analyze our work. Is it of quality or not? Is it sensible or not? Along the way it’s breaking that form. When I say breaking rules, I also mean finding solutions. You don’t have to love a dish or have it agree with your palette to find it interesting. This is what assures me that in terms of food, we are on a steep learning curve––one that I would like to cultivate for my own personal development at Gramercy Tavern. I hope that collectively, we can find a sensible way to pursue this.

In Japan, I learned to create meals that are unique to a particular place. Our dishes here should taste unique because they use ingredients that are grown here and are seasonal. For example, a meal in New York in March should taste, look, and feel much different than a meal in early June. A memory of a meal is related exactly to the climate and culture around us.

Uniqueness of time and place is the essence of almost every fine dining experience that I know of in traditional Japanese cooking and other forms of serious cooking. That’s the connection.

Our attention has gone beyond the food. Our dishes are now connected with the soil, and we are celebrating all sorts of stories of urban farming, home gardens, the revival of small agriculture in the northeast, our heritage, and heirloom vegetables. However, this is more than a trend––it’s a defining moment in our culture. Now more than ever, chefs, educators, restaurateurs and other culinary professionals need to stand up to voice our opinions about our love for and interest in foods of all sorts––especially traditional foods, foods that have inherent flavor, foods grown with care, foods grown on small farms, food products that represent unique and authentic flavors. If we don’t stand up now, as food professionals and enthusiastic diners, we may not have the opportunity to enjoy those flavors in the future. For me, this philosophy is what defines what we do at Gramercy Tavern.

Click here for a free PDF download of Michael Anthony's complete mini interview