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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


The word “washoku” is a philosophy and a mindset—and it’s also the food that’s produced when you’re in that mindset.

Washoku is Japanese food, but the wa character also means “harmony.” The Japanese think of themselves and all of the things they do, including their cultural traditions surrounding food, as harmonious. It’s a question of achieving balance. The word washoku is a philosophy and a mindset—and it’s also the food that’s produced when you’re in that mindset.

I refer to the person who is making the food as the practitioner, because he or she practices washoku. It’s a very active engagement. There are three groupings of five elements that are important for the practitioner and the person being fed. The three groupings are color, flavor, and what I call transformation (as opposed to cooking). If you call it cooking, it implies the application of heat, and sometimes you don’t apply heat.

There are five colors: red, yellow, and green, followed by black and white. It’s not about equal distribution. It’s about balance.

Among these colors, red is the largest category. It includes purple, pink, orange, and even browns. If you know anything about nutrition, you know that red foods are typically rich in polyphenols, and that certain other nutrients appear in leafy greens, so without much effort, if you’ve got balance of color, you’ve got nutritional balance. It doesn’t require complicated calculations.

The second group is flavor. The big three flavors are sweet, sour, and salty, followed by bitter and spicy. The bitter taste cleanses the palette and helps you to appreciate other flavors. Bitter is used in small amounts to reset your palette. These bitter accents are subtle and spice plays a different role: it is much more about aroma than heat. And when there is heat, it is different. Think of wasabi––it’s frontal and nasal, while sansho pepper is tongue-tingling.

So now we come to the third group: transformation. In preparing a meal, ingredients are changed or transformed in some way. The Japanese combine various methods: some foods are simmered, some foods are seared with heat, some foods are steamed (mushimono) or fried using a bit of oil, and some foods are eaten raw.

When planning and preparing a meal, you have many things to consider: color, flavor, and the method by which you will transform your ingredients into a finished dish. Combine the elements of five colors, five flavors, and five preparation methods in different ways, and you’ve got not 15, but three to the fifth power –– that’s a lot of combinations!

Click here for a free PDF download of Elizabeth Andoh's complete mini interview