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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

From an early age, my parents took my brother and me to many kinds of restaurants, mostly in Kanazawa and the Ishikawa Prefecture, but sometimes in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, too.

One day when I was eight or nine years old, I asked my father, “Can you make sashimi?” He said, “You know I am a chef, so why do you ask me that?” I had never seen him make sashimi, so I wondered if he could make it. At that time, my father had several chefs working in his restaurant so that he didn’t have to do all of the cooking by himself. He said, “Okay, I will show you. Let’s go to the restaurant.”

On the way to the restaurant, we picked up a small, live fluke. When we got to the restaurant, he killed it and prepared sashimi for me. It took about 30 minutes, and it was beautiful! Then he said, “Why don’t you taste it?”

After I took a bite, my father asked me, “Did it taste good?” I couldn’t say yes because it didn’t taste good. I told him, “It’s too fresh. The texture is good, but its taste is not so good. It’s not cold enough for sashimi.” My father just laughed. That was the first time I tasted sashimi prepared by my father. In fact, I think he prepared meals for me only two or three times.

From an early age, my parents took my brother and me to many kinds of restaurants, mostly in Kanazawa and the Ishikawa Prefecture, but sometimes in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, too. We didn’t really talk too much about the food, but even though I was only 13 or 14 years old, we shared wine or saké during dinner. I think he thought I was too young to learn actual cooking techniques or about the presentation of this cuisine, but he tried to teach me how to appreciate the meal and enjoy the restaurant.

For a kid in high school, it was almost impossible to understand how one plate, even if it was 200 years old, could cost more than 100,000 yen!

When I was in junior high and high school, I worked four or five nights a week in the restaurant, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., washing dishes. My father used very old dishes and tableware, so I had to be very careful with them. Sometimes he asked me, “Do you know how old this plate is?” I said I didn’t know. “It’s more than 200 years old. And do you know how much these kinds of plates and tableware cost?” I had no idea. But for a kid in high school, it was almost impossible to understand how one plate, even if it was 200 years old, could cost more than 100,000 yen!

Serving food on antique tableware, even in the best kaiseki restaurants, was rare in Japan. But my father’s hobby was collecting antique dishes. He believed that the dish was a kind of canvas for the meal. He was very serious about his tableware collections and how cuisine looked when it was served to his guests. His said, “I try to prepare great meals, and they need to be served on beautiful dishes.”

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