What kind of food is “Japanese Cuisine”?
What is the definition of “Japanese Cuisine”?
Is authentic “Japanese Cuisine” only available in Japan where you live?
What is “Japanese Cuisine” to you?
Nihon Ryori RyuGin Chef Seiji Yamamoto, who leads our restaurant, might be a Japanese Cuisine chef that has had the most of these questions thrown at him in many different ways during his activities overseas.
Chef Yamamoto always said on this travels overseas :
Japanese cuisine is… “It is the “Spirit” of us Japanese people.”
Japanese cuisine… It is something that communicates to people the wonderfulness of “Japan” through food and is a way for Japanese people to express their “feelings” of pride in the richness of the natural environment that Japan has. The blessings of ingredients that are nurtured from the four seasons of Japan’s natural environment is something that the Japanese can boast to the world.
The richness of ingredients…The "high level of quality" and the "technique" to prepare and distribute it while preserving its freshness.
As we prepare the food and place it on the surface of plates, the pride that we have in the ingredients that are on the plates is the "Japanese Cuisine" that we can boast to the world.
The "deliciousness" that natural ingredients originally have, cannot be matched by anything manmade, it completes the food on the plate and this complete form gives the person dining the illusion of eating them directly...
Gently providing help for only what is lacking in the ingredients...
I feel that this type of cooking shows the "spirit" of respect for the "natural environment" that we Japanese have and that feeling is projected into the food and is the ultimate form of cooking.
In view of the world surrounding Japanese cuisine, if only the part about "cooking" is described, it cannot truly portray Japanese cuisine in its entirety. I cannot even begin to describe in the words that I have, the history and culture of Japanese cuisine that the Japanese have built up and the Japanese restaurants that have been past on through generations.
How every I am a “chef”. If only cooking is taken up, I can convey that it is “everything in my life”.
Japanese cuisine is vanity, flamboyance, and at times needs to be sexy. The world view that we create and through the entire shop, earnestly convey this value to our customers as one...
This is something that we, "Team RyuGin" might be able to do.
Chefs must be prepared to live their lives in the kitchen and from the time they take responsibility of lives of the ingredients, they must act as their translator and the messenger to convey their preciousness.
When the ingredients become dishes upon plates and they once again come to life, they will surely communicate something to you when inside.
If I am not mistaken in the attitude taken as a chef in cooking, the ingredients prepared by me should express this to the dinner
"You, who are eating me, will surely feel that I am communicating the depth of delicacy within my body that has been raised in Japan's great nature..."
is what you should hear.
This is because the ingredients believing in its (ingredients) strength, is telling you of its joy of being prepared by the chef.
It is not the Japanese language that I speak as a chef, nor is it the language of people that is spoken in conversations but it is the language of the ingredients on the plates...
This language must be the "common world language" that can be heard by everyone.
This is the perception of "Japan's cuisine as a common world language..." that I recite and this phrase is the basis for my hope as a chef.
We, as Japanese, have an expression in regards to food that is "indescribable taste".
Not simply sweet, spicy, sour, or otherwise and not a balancing of flavorings but instead an experience with placed in the mouth of something that cannot be expressed in words and the feeling of deliciousness leaves the person lost for words...
Warmth, aroma, texture, umami... definitely not, it is delicious beyond the scope of words...
That is why it cannot be described properly and leaves people speechless...
An experience not only on the tongue but an accompanying excitement like a spinal reflex in the deliciousness is not caused by the "skill" of the chef in the preparation of the ingredients, but in fact is rather overwhelmingly the excitement derived at the level of the natural ingredients "itself".
That excitement becomes an unforgettable memory and becomes deeply entrenched into the mind as an experience.
When the personal message that a chef's creation becomes too strong or if he depends only on his skills, the wonderful possibilities that the ingredients originally have could be lessened by forcefully trying to make them even more delicious and therefore having the opposite effect of suppressing the pure natural flavors they possess and losing them as they are plated.
Every detail of the ingredients should be studied thoroughly and when everything is known, the "eye", "judgment ability" and "frankness" to balance whether to go with "skills obtained" or "attention to natural" is something that must be learned.
That decision is as a result, will be the reason for the answer to customers.
Japanese Cuisine must not become a private possession…
What is “my” message as a chef of Japanese cuisine…
It is something that one possesses and selected with pride to present the diner with the natural "voice" of the ingredients.
To make the person feel the hidden "strength" of the ingredients.
I believe that the pure deliciousness gained by growing in nature in the oceans and on land, is a sense that can universally reach everyone and "the taste of the ingredients themselves is the foremost sense for the best treat in cooking". I strongly believe this.
With this "belief", Japanese Cuisine can be delivered to any country and in its natural environment, find wonderful ingredients that people of that country are proud of and prepare such ingredients with care so that the richness of the country can be heard from the "voice" of the ingredients...
This is a hidden potential that Japan's "Japanese Cuisine" possesses.
With the "Japanese cuisine made with that country's ingredients", the "spirit" of Japanese food can be communicated and together with the people overseas we can admire and feel "the richness of the ingredients is the pride of our country..." in the same way that Japanese people feel, should become possible...
The "true strength" of Japanese cuisine is to make people feel
“We are truly lucky to have been born in this country…”
That feeling is its "strength".
Japanese cuisine is food that delivers the "spirit" that we Japanese have to the world and upon understanding the preciousness of the richness of natural ingredients, face the available resources, protect and nurture them and while facing the natural environment, question the way we live as "humans" along with nature and hope that it will last forever, and not to be dependent only on skills but also the "way of the heart" of Japanese people is what we deliver to the world in our cuisine.
“Japan”, “Hong Kong”, and “Taiwan”
We search for ingredients in these three countries. Team RyuGin searches and finds the wonderful richness that each country possesses from the RyuGin in each country and using the means of Japanese cuisine, we deliver them to the world with pride.
Each RyuGin does not copy other RyuGin's cuisine. All messages are real as a result from the ingredients of each location being communicated with daily and is truly "original" and "authentic" because that is what we want to convey...
Japanese cuisine becomes that country’s cuisine no matter what country it goes to…
In other words, it could be the only cuisine in the world that communicates the "spirit" that can coexists with that country's culture and as the country's "national language" and not a foreign language…
“This is the kind of “food” that I feel Japanese Cuisine is”
2014 Kinoe Uma
Nihon Ryori RyuGin Seiji Yamamoto