I think many people have the wrong idea of what “Modernist Cuisine” truly is. It is not about manipulation or using chemicals, these chemicals are nothing new, they have been around for decades, most of them a way to preserve and increase shelf life/yield during the commercialization of food products. But “Modernist Cuisine” is about improving and understanding our products intimately. It is about utilizing technology and research materials available today to further cuisine and our field. This can encompass everything from finding new ingredients to consume or finding a different and better way to draw out Mother Nature’s nuances or assuring integrity of products. It is about respecting Nature and our Purveyors and Farmers. For example, vacuum sealing products to prevent oxidation, cryogenic freezing to inhibit cellular activity within proteins, or using pressure cooker to increase boiling point to speed up stock making. All these things assure that we waste less resources and products. And all these things were developed through research and technology; and people taking risks. Without risk takers, we would not have most things that we take for granted like cell phones, computers, cars, planes, and etc. Another good example of utilization of technology and research is the medical field. Because of the knowledge we possess, people are healthier with better diets and are able to live longer. The research done by Chefs who practice “Modernist Cuisine” are meant to inspire and show what could be. I feel it is our duty to be resourceful, honor their research, and improve upon our organic field of cuisine. At the end of the day, food needs to be tasty, and “Modernist Cuisine” is about improvement of Nature. Practice “Modernist Cuisine” wisely and with respect.
100 g Vietnamese cinnamon
Although my cuisine is not 100% Japanese, it does contain the underlying soul of it. Meaning, saying something is Japanese does not necessarily need to consist purely of Japanese ingredients. I utilize its’ culture, the art of ikebana, and philosophy of wabi sabi to give my guests the feel of “Japanese Inspired Cuisine,” while integrating western ingredients. After all, we are in California and seasonality is Key! In my opinion, the soul and identity of the cuisine is the most important aspect.
Over time, I have been asked, “why SF?” My answer…..“it’s simple, this city will become the next NYC in the U.S.” It only makes sense. We have everything here. A city and its’ surrounding areas bustling with intelligence, innovation, and most importantly an open mind. It is a melting pot of different demographics from across the United States. It is a unique city in which each part has its own soul and expression. There is a strong sense of freedom and individuality here.
There is a strong synergy between city life and nature. There is Santa Cruz and the Redwoods for those fond of hiking and other outdoor activities. Napa and Sonoma is 1.5 hours north and Humboldt is nearby with its’ great California Creamery. The best produce is grown here, it is quite amazing and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to reside in this city. Being here, you are naturally inclined to be more cognizant of using local products and you are more aware of the intricacy of seasonality. You are constantly exposed to limitless varieties of a single fruit, vegetable, or herb within its given harvest season. Nowhere else in the U.S. will you find a selection this vast and abundant, and so accessible by the public. And since I use seafood from Japan, it’s quality is unparalleled due to the minimal overnight commute to SFO and second only to getting it personally at Legendary Tokyo Tsukiji Market.
At the end of the day, if you’re in the Culinary Field, San Francisco is definitely one of cities to be in!!