********** Yoshinori Ishii Executive chef of Japanese restaurant UMU in London ******************

------------------ 英国の日本料理店 UMU 総料理長 石井義典 のつれづれなる話 ------------

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Mersea Island festival Mersea島フィスティバル

I was very honoured when I had been invited to be a presenter for the very first festival of Mersea island in Colchester district, so I tagged along sous-chef Neves, his loving wife and a cheeky son, and together we headed to the Northern region of Dover by peaceful train ride.
The site located in a winery field, the festival welcomed significant number of visitors despite unfortunate weather. Other than our presentation booth, entertainments included specially food of the island such as oysters, fish and honey, folk crafts sale and an open-air concert, which together achieved great success.
As a presentation, I performed the fish preserving technique at our booth upon request from local fishmonger, the same skill I had mentioned in my “Revolution of Fish & Chips” project. I was very moved by the great turn-ups of local fishermen and anglers who eagerly observed and became very keen on practicing it themselves. Neves prepared sea bass sashimi while thoughtfully explaining the process, the outcome was heartwarming as many happily queued up to have a taste.
After the event, Darcy from “Colchester Oyster” fishery who was also the main host of the festival gave us a quick tour around the isle by a car. It was my first time to see the Eastern side of the Great Britain, never-ending scenery of the shallow sea and a prairie was breathe-taking. If only the weather was nicer….. It’d have been a perfect day.  


プレゼンでは地元の魚屋の要望で私が最近始めた“Revolution of Fish & chips” の本題である“活けジメ(神経〆)”を解説しました。地元の手釣り漁師も多く集まり、非常に興味を持って“自分たちもやりたい!”と口々に言ってくれたのは本当に嬉しかったです。Nevesの優しい解説と共に造られたスズキのお刺身を多くの人が並びながら喜んで味見してくれたのも微笑ましい光景でした。
イベントの後、主催者である“Colchester Oyster”Darcyが島全体を車で案内してくれました。私もブリテン島の西側を見るのは初めてで、遠浅の海と草原とが果てしなく続く景色はとてもきれいでした。あれで天気さえ良かったのなら。。。最高の一日でした。

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Chef`s Journey through British fishery in Cornwall Vol.4 活けジメを伝えにCornwallへ小旅行その4

(Day 5)
From the early morning, I was once again out on the shore on a boat owned by “P.J” Godfrey, specializing in gill net fishing. Contrary to the day before, the weather was awfully stormy, but the boat just made it way straight to the inshore fishery despite its surprisingly not so modern equipments. Haddock and dogfish were caught in the net which had been set during the night before, unfortunately my target monkfish was nowhere to be seen. 
Back in the Bullus' office, I prepared sashimi out of haddock, mackerel and sole upon request from Naomi’s sister, Emma. Their father Geoff, the chairman of the company, was not very keen on eating raw fish at first, however he seemed to enjoy more than anyone once he tried it, which gave me great pleasure.  
During this trip, I have met more people than I expected who have a similar passion to me and enjoyed uncountable discussions with them about providing quality fish to restaurants. However, by going out with the fisherman and fishing myself I can see how hard it is to consistently use my style and methods.  In time though, with practice and understanding, I do think we can spread the fish preserving method widely enough to actually make an impact. If more fishermen can appreciate the pride in providing the freshest fish to restaurants and diners realize how much better proper fresh fish tastes then it will be worth it.
I really enjoyed this trip, surrounded by beautiful nature and meeting the beautiful people of Cornwall! 
5日目は朝から船長“P.J Godfrey の操る刺し網専門の中型船に乗せてもらいました。昨日と打って変わって大荒れの天気でしたがその中を決して最新型とは言えないボートは漁場へと向かいました。夜中に仕掛けた網には主にHaddock Dogfish(ネコザメ)がかかり、お目当てのMonk fish(アンコウ)はかかりませんでした。帰りの船の中で*が魚の処理をする際に改めて活けジメの方法を伝えました。刺身に向くような魚は獲れませんでしたが、それでも始めてのやり方には興味深々のようでした。
事務所に戻ってから、Naomiさんの姉妹である Emmaからのリクエストで釣ってきたHaddock, Mackerel, Soleを刺身にしました。Naomiさんのお父さんであり、会社社長であるGeoffは“生の魚なんていらん!”と言っていたのが一口食べるなりやみつきになったのか皿を抱えるようにして喜んで食べてくれたのは感動的でした!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Chef`s Journey through British fishery in Cornwall Vol.3 活けジメを伝えにCornwallへ小旅行その3

Day 3
After arriving in St Ives late the night before, my plan for the day was to visit the Bernard Leach pottery. I was also joined by a journalist who came all the way from London expressly to cover my activity. I re-visited Ms. Midori, a Japanese ceramist in the renowned atelier, who will be playing a significant role in my ceramic project in the near future. At a lovely hotel-detached restaurant over a hill close by, we had lunch as she shared her interesting and eye-opening insights into the world of ceramic art.

Day 4
By the time the Sun was up, I was already out  mackerel fishing on a boat, thanks to a local fishmonger Ms. Naomi Bullus' kind help in making the arrangement with a fisherman, Boy Jon Stevens. Beautiful weather and the fact that 10kg worth of mackerel had already been caught in the morning round were boosting my expectation, and it did in fact turnout to be an awesome day. The method used in mackerel fishing here is similar to the one adopted in Japan.  The devise uses about 20 strings with bird feathers attached to them, which allows a few dozen mackerel to be caught per stream. The speed and efficiency of fishermen performing each step of the routine was very impressive. I had a go and needless to say, my performance was not comparable to theirs! I promptly demonstrated the same preserving technique on fish we had just caught right there on the boat while the fishermen carefully and eagerly observed. They were impressively quick in getting the hang of it and I couldn’t help but already look forward to the fresher fish we would be receiving from them, back in London.

In the evening, Naomi invited me to join her family and friends for dinner and we headed to the restaurant directly opposite to St. Michael's Mt in Marazion. In the secluded atmosphere of the country, I sincerely enjoyed amazing food and the great company.

三日目。昨晩遅くにSt Ivesに着きました。今日はロンドンからわざわざ私の活動を取材に来てくれたジャーナリストと共に、Bernard Leach Potteryを訪れました。そこで働く陶芸家のMidoriさんと3人で陶芸の話しをしながら、海の見える小高い陸の上にあるホテルレストランで食事をしました。Midoriさんは今後私がしている陶磁器製作のキーパーソンとなり、いろいろとためになる話を聞くことが出来ました。
四日目、既に日が昇った時間からの出航で魚屋のNaomiさんが手配をしてくれたBoyJon Stevensの操るサバの手釣り漁にジャーナリストと共に行きました。Boyjonは朝の漁で既に10kgのサバを釣り上げたとのこと、満々の期待と素晴らしい天気にも恵まれ、最高の一日でした。日本でも使われる鳥の羽のついた20本ほどの釣り針の仕掛けでひと流しごとに数十匹のサバが釣れてきます。手返しの早さはさすがにプロで、私も釣り人根性でやらせてもらいましたが、彼らには到底及びません。 
夜にはNaomiさんの家族と、その友人も合流し、MarazionSt Michael’s Mt真向かいにあるレストランで夕食に招待していただきました。田舎町にありながら、素晴らしい料理で、暖かいBullus家の方々との楽しい会話と共にとても楽しむことが出来ました。

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Chef`s Journey through British fishery in Cornwall Vol.2 活けジメを伝えにCornwallへ小旅行その2


Teaching how to" IKEJIME"

Day 2
I was already out on the shore from early morning on a boat departing from Coverack Bay. After our attempt to rod-fish mackerel failed miserably due to the unfortunate tide movement, we decided to haul in gill nets which had already been set in place the night before. Only one red mullet was netted which was my primary target, but luckily we also caught wrass, pollack and plaice which allowed me to demonstrate a special fish preserving technique mainly used in Japan. To equip local fishermen with this particular technique was one of my original aims of this trip. Willie, a dedicated, passionate and very skilled fisherman, who is also the owner of the boat, comprehended why it is important this is performed by front line fishermen, even through my clumsy English, and promised to continue practicing the method.

After returning to the ground, I watched other local fishermen hauling in nets and whenever I saw chances, demonstrated the same technique in front of them. I was overwhelmed by the interest everyone showed, despite it being a totally unfamiliar method. Dover sole, turbot, gurnard, spider crab, seeing all the fishes preserved almost as fresh as when they were alive was such an achievement. I returned to Dylan & Mutsuko's for dinner, where we had blanched spider crab, home-grown vegetable salad and my impromptu sashimi dish of Dover sole and gurnard. It was a truly supreme, blissful experience! 
二日目早朝、Coverack bay   から、漁師Willieの船で沖に出ました。長髪の似合う男前です。すでに夜中からGill net(刺し網)を仕掛けておいてくれ、まずはサバの手釣りを試みるものの、潮の動きが悪く、思わしくないため、網を上げることをしました。狙っていたRed Mullet1匹しかかからなかったものの、Wrasse(大きいベラ)やPollack, Place(カレイ)などがかかり、その場で活けジメの方法を伝えました。Willieは非常に熱心な釣り人で魚の扱いも優れており、私のつたない英語力でも活けジメの意味を理解してくれ、今後続けてくれると約束してくれました。
その後陸に戻り、後から戻ってくる漁師の水揚げを見ながら、その他の漁師にも活けジメを伝えました。皆、初めてのことですが非常に関心を持ってくれ、本当に嬉しく感じました。Doversolle Turbot , Gurnard SpiderCrubなど、まだ活きているような状態の魚ばかりでした。その後、Dylan Mutsukoさんのご自宅で夕食となり、茹でたてのSpider Crabと目の前の畑で栽培している野菜のサラダ、即席で私が作ったDoversoleGurnardの刺身で至福のひと時となりました。

Friday, 8 June 2012

Chef`s Journey through British fishery in Cornwall Vol.1 活けジメを伝えにCornwallへ小旅行その1

It was last year, under the slogan of "Revolution of Fish & Chips", that I began my challenge to improve the quality of  the fish which is used in London’s restaurants, not only for the benefit of Umu, but also to raise the standard of British markets. Since then, I have come across many prospective participants, mainly from the fishing industry, and after many discussions and negotiations I started to get a clearer idea of who I will be working closely with on this project. In order to have more detailed discussions in person with local fishermen in  St. Ives and to experience very privileged arrangements on the fishing boats, I have decided to once again return to the primary location of this challenge, Cornwall.

(Day 1)
Even though I had arrived in Helston exhausted, after a five hour drive in a rented car, I was so excited just to be near the ocean that I could not help myself but to immediately head to the Southernmost point of the peninsula, Lizard. I strolled through the tip of the cape then tried fishing sea bass with my hand-carried rod, unfortunately what I caught in the end were only small pollack. Nevertheless, accompanied by beautiful weather, I enjoyed myself surrounded by the amazing view of the seafront and summer flowers in bloom.

Just past 8 o'clock, I had arrived at my appointment with local fishmongers Dylan & Mutsuko and we made our way to a nearby pub where we discussed about the local fishery situation over dinner. During dinner they told me that only two sea bass had been caught over last few days by canoe fishing and in fact, they were the only sea bass I came across during this entire trip. This has made me rethink the significance of each season and the importance of taking it into consideration when I create seasonal menus.

“Revolution of Fish and Chip”と銘打って、当店で使う魚、布いては英国の市場に出る魚をより良いものにするためにライフワークとして動き出したのは昨年からですが、昨年訪ねたときから多くの漁業関係者と交渉を重ねた上で幾つかの候補が見つかり、改めてCornwall への旅に行ってきました。昨年冬に尋ねたSt Ivesの魚屋さんも幾人かの釣り人をアレンジしてくださり、また、新たにコンタクトを取ることができたHelstonの魚屋さんに卸す手釣り漁師の船にも乗ることが出来、活けじめの方法を教えることが出来ました。