Threes

They say deaths come in threes and boy has the culinary world in 2018 suffered the effects of that urban legend. First Anthony Bourdain. Then Jonathan Gold. And now, Joël Robuchon.

My first experience at a Robuchon establishment was in Tokyo, where he owns this strange mansion-esque building that houses three Robuchon restaurants and one bar. I’ve eaten at all three, even had drinks at the bar.

Living in Asia, it’s easy to travel around the region and in every cosmopolitan city of this part of the world, there is at least one L’Atelier that is starred by Michelin. And that is the extent I know about him: A decorated chef with a lot of stars around the globe.

Reading tributes, I now have a better understanding of the man and the impact he had on global fine dining. Pete Wells’ NYTimes piece basically sums it up perfectly.

I don’t really have much to contribute but I did come across a mashed potato recipe of his I’ve cooked several times. They are French style mashed potatoes, creamier and richer than the mashed potatoes Americans are used to, perfect for when you want to control mashed potato intake because honestly I can eat an entire pot of American style mashed potatoes. Oops!

Continue reading

Advertisements

Jonathan Gold

DirC_sbWsAAPZsb

Jonathan Gold passed away.

My tribute is late and I don’t have anything profound to add to all the eloquent tributes except he taught America so much and his presence will be missed.

The number one thing we learned, is to appreciate food and cultures in our own backyards and how food isn’t about Michelin stars or lists, but more so, food is a universal language that bonds and the simplest way of showing love towards others.

He also taught me a lot about tacos and burritos

Following the news about Anthony Bourdain, 2018 is one of the worst years in the culinary world.

Rest in light to two legends.

img_8366

Ferran Adrìa and Daniel Boulud

I get it. I do. We all cut corners.

Ina Garten uses store bought marinara (Rao’s) as does Giada de Larentiis. Rick Bayless uses Tamazula hot sauce. Andrew Zimmern (4x James Beard winner) uses Sam’s BBQ Sauce and Trader Joe’s brand harissa (wtf), on and on, if you do Google searches, there are loads of information of ready made products chef use.

Almost all of the store-bought products top chefs rely on make sense. Why bother wasting time and energy making something if store bought ones taste better? Personally, I veer from house-made / homemade ketchup and mayo — Heinz still makes the best ketchup, Hellman’s and Kewpie for mayo.

However, there are two unforgivable offenses I just can not get over.

  1. (points below)

and 2. (points below)

In no means am I a purist but these are three star Michelin chefs!!!!!! Preserved lemons are just salt and water. Variations may have added spices and lemon juice but come on! What is so difficult about tossing some spices or squeezing juice? Not to mention, he is a master chef and restauranteur who owns chains and employs thousands of people. He can easily have minions make preserved lemons. Buying pre-made is just lazy.

Ferran Adrìa is the genius behind elBulli, the now defunct mothership that bred countless of world-class chefs dazzling Europe. And he uses dashi powder? WTF. Dashi powder is the equivalent to bouillon cubes of Japanese cooking: FLAVORLESS SALT BOMBS.

I am strangely disappointed, extremely offended, and most of all sad, since I no longer trust these chefs.. If Chef Daniel Boulud can’t even prepare his own preserved lemons, what else does he cut corners on? Makes me never, ever, want to step foot into Daniel or any Boulud restaurant ever again.

Oh, well.

The French Laundry #throwback

One of the greatest things about Twitter is how bits of information are shared, which is probably due to how anyone can post whatever they feel like quickly. The 280 character limit and knowing the information will most likely pass through a vortex of information and disappear into the Internet blackhole relieves pressures of thinking too much … which is beneficial for the masses as we can see deeper into our favorite people/brands/businesses that are normally out of reach. (Usually — as I am obviously taking politics out of the equation.)

The other day a friend alerted me to The French Laundry’s Tweet, sharing their opening night menu in 1979 (!!!)

img_7570

Fast forward to 1994, Thomas Keller bought the building and in 2018, TK is arguably still one of the top 5 chefs in North America, and TFL is one of the greatest restaurants in America.

The original handwritten menu on opening night, though, beautifully sums up the state of food in America in the 70’s and up until the late-00’s (perhaps early 2010) when the American public finally started caring about food.

Take a look:

img_6845

“Fresh asparagus” and “rice” are on the menu — wow.

America, you have come a long way! And thank you, Chef Keller, for being on the forefront of the food revolution in the U.S. Much love and respect.

Snow in Tokyo!

As of late, I spend most of my time in Bangkok but I’m back in Tokyo for a quick trip and… it SNOWED.

The snow in Tokyo is exactly like this country: Soft, unobtrusive, calm, peaceful, beautiful. The tidying process is pretty efficient so there are barely inconveniences caused. At least in the areas I navigate (Ebisu, Aoyama, Shibuya, Roppongi) so it’s not a massive pain to get around and panic doesn’t break out like it did when I lived in NYC.

Here are some photos.

…because Japan!

In a 2011 interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Scene Asia blog, Yoshikazu Ono, son of Jiro Ono, the star of 2011’s “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” documentary, Yoshikazu was asked why there are no female chefs or apprentices at his father’s $300 per person sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. His response:

“The reason is because women menstruate. To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food, but because of the menstrual cycle, women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs.”

via this piece from Business Insider.

Another gem from the piece:

Unfortunately his belief that a woman’s palate is inferior to a man’s is not uncommon in Japan, where other prevailing myths warn that women’s hands are too small and warm to handle sushi, and that their makeup and perfume will ruin the taste of the fish.

Hahahahhaha wow.