“Taste of Japan” Event Held in N.Y. to Raise Public Awareness about Appeals of Japanese Food and Cuisine Culture
Date: Oct 11, 2017
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
TOKYO, Oct. 11, 2017 – Quality Branded Executive Chef & Partner Craig Koketsu Explains Appeals of Japanese Cuisine and Use of Japanese Ingredients -
On September 19, 2017 (EDT), in parallel with the United Nations General Assembly, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan presented “Taste of Japan,” a public awareness event communicating the appeals of Japanese food and cuisine culture.
Talk session: Craig Koketsu, Gabriella Gershenson
Presenting to an audience of influencers — including members of the New York media with a strong influence on the food industry, food-related businesspeople — a Japanese cooking professor from the Tsuji Culinary Institute, Japan’s largest culinary education institution, explained the appeal of Japanese food and cuisine culture that has been carefully passed down through the ages as well as a broad variety of Japanese produce resulting from the nation’s varied regions and seasons.
Presentation of Japanese cuisine
Quality Branded Executive Chef & Partner Craig Koketsu, hailed as one of New York’s top up-and-coming chefs, also took the stage to engage in a talk session with Gabriella Gershenson, a New York-based writer and editor who writes for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, offering his perspective on the advantages and varied applications of Japanese ingredients.
Cooking demonstration of Japanese cuisine
A third-generation Japanese-American, Chef Koketsu discussed his mixed culinary roots, and recalled how he discovered his identity as a chef by observing how his first mentor in New York, influential chef Gray Kunz, applied French cooking techniques to Asian ingredients. Observing the rise of Japanese culinary influence coming to the continental U.S. through Hawaii, he said, “I definitely think the Japanese-American moment is coming.”
Assistant Professor Takeshi Kimura of the Tsuji Culinary Institute joined Executive Chef Isao Yamada of New York’s Brushstroke Japanese restaurant to offer a presentation on the food and cuisine culture of Japan’s various regions, focusing on the distinct features granted to Japanese cuisine by the expansive variety of its produce that results from the nation’s strong regionality and seasonality.
Beyond discussing Japanese cuisine, they also examined the effect of “koji” rice mold on Japanese spices and sake. Looking at “miso” soybean paste made with koji, they introduced the differing flavors achieved with such forms of miso as rice miso made with fermented rice, barley miso and bean miso, as well as the key points to drawing out the “umami” of food through the application of koji.
Chef Yamada further illustrated the Japanese technique of using a “kombu” seaweed wrap to truly draw out the umami of a dish. In their Japanese cooking demonstration further illustrating how to bring out umami, they showed how Japanese Spanish mackerel pickled in salt koji and flounder wrapped in kombu seaweed could be used in the preparation of Bara-Zushi, a form of local cuisine from Okayama Prefecture, western Japan.
Craig Koketsu – Quality Branded Executive Chef & Partner
Japanese-American Executive Chef & Partner at Quality Branded, a management group that stands behind hot New York restaurants such as Quality Meats and Quality Italian. Counted among New York’s top up-and-coming chefs, he’s a regular face on the New York restaurant scene and frequently seen in the media.
Gabriella Gershenson – News Writer and Editor
A New York-based writer and editor, Gershenson has been on staff at Rachel Ray Every Day, Saveur and Time Out New York, and presently writes for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and many other publications. Her primary focus is food journalism.
Takeshi Kimura – Tsuji Culinary Institute Assistant Professor
Graduated from Tsuji Culinary Institute in 1986. He also leads Japanese cooking classes and provides training in Japanese cuisine in Europe and Asia. He’s appeared on the Dotchi no Ryori Show (“Dotch Cooking Show”) and Kaminuma Emiko no Oshaberi Cooking (“Emiko Kaminuma’s Talkative Cooking”). He contributed editorially to Tsujicho Kando Washoku no Ajiwai Taneakashi Jo (“Tsujicho’s Secret Book
of Tasting Moving Japanese Cuisine,” with editorial supervision by Yoshiki Tsuji), and also contributed to Nihon Ryori Kiso kara Manabu Utsuwa to Moritsuke (“Dishes and Plating to be Learned from the Foundations of Japanese Cuisine”), a cookbook by Koichiro Hata.
Isao Yamada – Executive Chef, Brushstroke Japanese restaurant
Graduated from Tsuji Culinary Institute in 1995. After learning Japanese cooking and training in Kyoto, he had already opened a restaurant in his hometown of Fukuoka in his 20s. Deciding that he
still had more to learn, he went to the U.S. with the help of his almamater in 2006. He became Executive Chef at Brushstroke, a Japanese restaurant formed in collaboration with David Bouley, a well-known American restaurateur, and the Tsuji Culinary Institute. He teaches Japanese cuisine to local chefs and leads seminars to introduce the appeal of Japanese food to New Yorkers.
Event Title: TASTE OF JAPAN in New York
Date: September 19, 2017
Place: New York Historical Society
Organizer: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
About “Taste of Japan”
Taste of Japan is a website facilitating the dissemination of information on Japanese restaurants and cuisine culture worldwide, including details on Japanese restaurants all over the world, recipes for staple Japanese dishes, and explanations of signature Japanese ingredients. Within the site “Search Restaurants” and “Buy ingredients” tabs, “Japanese Food Supporter” badges are displayed indicating the stores that have been certified under the certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas. This program was designed to certify overseas restaurants, bars and retailers which carry Japanese food and beverages as official “Japanese Food Supporter” in order to further promote Japanese food products or alcoholic beverages around the world.