********** 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 ------------

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Kizuna – the bond 絆


Spring is approaching for the third time since I’ve started new chapter of my life in London. Through whole new series of challenges – being an executive chef for the first time, adjusting myself to new environment and understanding the diverse palette of Western culture – though I still find myself being lost time to time, the picture I had in my mind gradually but surely started to form its appearance.
Uncountable encounters with new associates and reunions with trusty fellows from past, “kizuna” with those who surround me have been giving me unlimited supply of support.
Fishermen and hunters who deliver fresh fish and game on daily basis; farmers who weed the land every day and aim to produce highest quality vegetables through trials and errors; the staff of organic stock farm who devotedly hand-make compost in the enormous land of Wales; every time I hold the ingredients in my hands, I think of the passionate faces of those who dedicatedly continue to deliver and making the Umu experience possible.
Last but not least, I am sending my greatest gratitude quietly every day to the staffs of Umu who go through all the goods and bads together at the restaurant in ever-so hectic days.




Saturday, 2 March 2013

Arrival of Spring そろそろ春

Between the usual days where thick crowd covering sky of London, although not many, we started to have days with clear, blue sky. Daffodils in Berkeley Square began to bear buds and blooming of crocuses and lilies can be already seen in places.
While the variety of games available gradually becoming limited due to prohibition on hunting, woodcock has arrived from Cornwall. This rare breed of bird, with deliciously pronounced flavour and guts perfect for creating sauce, is also going into the season of prohibition shortly. This will probably be the last we have the pleasure of serving until it becomes available again next year.
Also humongous lobster arrived from the fisherman I visited in autumn. It weighs astonishing 5kg, and even a single claw seems to be enough to fill up one’s appetite.

Continuing from last year, the executive chefs from every London-based restaurant of MARC had gathered at Cassis Bistro in South Kensington to host a special dinner event, featuring 20 kg worth of Périgord truffle. As I enjoyed the remarkable aroma fill the entire restaurant, I also felt the season of this culinary treasure coming to its climax.
Soon we will be receiving specialty ingredients of spring. I wonder about the encounters of tastes that await me this year.