Happy 2017 everyone!
I know we’ve been MIA on the blog and for good reason. We’re facing a mega dry spell on the creativity front and it’s not just on the blog; it’s on social media as well. And email. Definitely email. So sorry to everyone who’s been reaching out to us but have received radio silence.
I hadn’t planned on a new year, new me; just a bit of a detox following a very gluttonous festive season. But a tummy bug from a year end trip to India meant that any good intentions I had took a back seat while I nursed myself to good health. And so here we are, well into January, all pumped up and ready for whatever 2017 has to bring! Woohoo!
What about you? Any resolutions made? Do you even bother?
It wouldn’t be right to move forward before properly closing the pages of the previous year. We didn’t do a round-up of our annual highlights like we did in 2015 but it’s never too late to mention one of my big moments of the year – when I got to meet the man himself, the legend – Nobu Matsuhisa. The person behind one of my most favourite dishes of all time (everyone’s favourite?) – the miso black cod.
He was visiting his restaurant Nobu at Atlantis the Palm at the end of November and I had the opportunity to meet him and chat with him for a few minutes. Having read and watched videos about him all these years, it was truly an honour and one that I will remember as one of the highlights of 2016, and possibly one of the best perks to have come out of this blog!
Nobu grew up like any young man in Tokyo and was blest to have trained under Nakame, his mentor for seven years whilst working in a local sushi restaurant. It was he who taught Nobu how to pick and slice fish, and that set the standard for something I got to see first-hand, when he went behind the counter to show me how quickly and expertly he can prepare a pair of nigiri. Think it may have been less than 10 seconds.
I of course had to find out how his world-famous dish, the miso black cod came about? He explained that back in the day, there were oceans all around and plenty of fish but no refrigerators. And so the marination technique was born. When he moved to Peru, he dint have access to his usual ingredients from Japan and so began using local methods to his classic sushi preparations. And thats how his miso black cod happened, and has now taken over the world by storm. Its one dish that every decent Japanese restaurant has on its menu, but none cooked with the same flair and expertise (and heart) that Nobu puts into this dish.
The journey that this man-extraordinare has been through is remarkable. From Tokyo to Peru to Argentina, and then back to Japan and then Alaska where he opened a restaurant which burnt down after 50 days, leaving him in despair with thoughts of ending his life… Thank goodness that seeing his two little daughters made him pick himself up and with a combination of hard work, passion and good luck, he went on to become one of the most humble and down to earth successful restauranteurs in the world, and more recently, hotel owner.
I obviously wanted to know what his recommendation is for a must-visit restaurant in Tokyo. Nobu’s recommendation is Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three michelin star restaurant owned another another sushi legend, 92 year old Jiro Ono. Yes sir, added to the list!
Thank you Atlantis the Palm for setting this up!