What is Japanese food? Sushi, or ramen, or kaiseki? What about Izakaya? Akiko Katayama, a Japanese native, New York-based food writer and director of the New York Japanese Culinary Academy, tells you all about real Japanese food and food culture. With guests ranging from sake producers with generations of experience to American chefs pushing the envelope of Japanese gastronomy, Japanese cuisine is demystified here!
Omotenashi at Café de Flore, Paris
Our guest is Tetsuya Yamashita, the only non-French garçon, or waiter, at Café de Flore in Paris. Café de Flore is one of the most iconic cafes in France. Garçon in France is different from a waiter in the US and Tetsuya exemplifies the difference in his outstanding style of service. To prove how distinctive he is, Tetsuya has been patronized by many regulars including the legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Also, he was invited by President François Hollande to the state dinner at the Élysée Palace when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Paris and got seated right next to the famed chef Alain Ducasse.
There is a unique concept of service in Japan called Omotenashi and Tetsuya is practicing the idea of Omotenashi at the quintessential café in Paris.
In this episode, we will discuss how Tetsuya got the job at Café de Flore in Paris and became the top garçon, his philosophy of hospitality, how he keeps refining himself to offer the greatest service possible to his guests, and much, much more!!!
This episode is different from our regular show. Recently, I got very lucky to be on the fantastic podcast Sake Revolution and had a fun conversation with the wonderful hosts Tim Sullivan and John Puma. So I am replaying it today on Japan Eats!
The Sake Revolution podcast started in January 2020 and each episode is so informative and so much fun that I have never missed any episode of the show.
Hope you enjoy it and also I suggest that you listen to more episodes on Sake Revolution, which is available on all major platforms of podcasts as well as on their website sakerevolution.com!
Rule of Thirds
Our guests today are JT Vuong and George Padilla, the executive chef and the co-founding partner of Rule of Thirds in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York. George and JT met at Okonomi, a charming Japanese restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and after working for several years together, they opened Rule of Thirds in February 2020 – what a timing! It was a month before the outbreak of COVID-19.
But the duo managed to get through the challenges in the pandemic and luckily we can now discover their great new restaurant in person.
In this episode, we will discuss how George and GT got into Japanese food, their ideas of Japanese food culture, how they communicate the ideas at Rule of Thirds through outstanding hospitality and unique dishes, creative programs they offer to enjoy Japanese flavors and much, much more!!!
I Just Opened A Sake Bar By Accident
Our guest is Austin Power who has been in the sake industry for the last 17 years as a sake sommelier and kikizakeshi, or a certified sake professional. Austin joined us in Episode 164 and discussed his fascinating experience at Sake Bar Satsuko in the East Village for the first 10 years of his career. Also, he shared his ideas of serving Japanese sake in non-Japanese environments like Tokyo Record Bar in Greenwich Village and Niche Niche in SOHO. He is also a talented artist and graduate of Parsons School of Design.
Austin is joining us today because he recently opened his own fantastic sake bar called Accidental Bar in the East Village, Manhattan.
In this episode, we will discuss why Austin opened a sake bar in the middle of the pandemic, how Accidental Bar is proposing a new way of drinking sake, the unique sake that he offers at his bar, his food menu that relates to the health benefits of sake (what are they?) and much, much more!!!
Discovering Shochu with iichiko
Our guest is Tetsuro Miyazaki, who is the General Manager at IICHIKO USA. iichiko is one of the most well-known shochu brands in Japan and abroad. The company was founded in 1958 and specializes in barley-based shochu products, which reflects the natural environment of Oita Prefecture in the south of Japan.
iichiko shochu’s nickname is ""Downtown Napoleon"", meaning that it has the quality of the first-class famous brandy Napoleon at an approachable price. And iichiciko has received numerous awards at global stages such as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the International Spirits Competition.
In this episode, we will discuss how the taste of shochu is affected by various elements like ingredients, the environment of the distillery and the production philosophy, how to drink shochu, great food pairings with shochu and much, much more!!!
Dassai And Beyond
Our guest is Kazuhiro Sakurai, the 4th generation and CEO of Asahi Shuzo, which is the maker of Dassai sake.
You may have heard of Dassai, because you can find it in many bars and restaurants worldwide. Also, Dassai has appeared at important events. For example, when Barak Obama visited Japan in 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gifted Dassai sake to the US president.
Dassai’s success did not happen overnight. Kazuhiro and his father/the third generation Hiroshi Sakurai shifted the corporate philosophy drastically and since then, their innovative approach to sake production has inspired the entire industry.
In this episode, we will discuss why Kazuhiro decided to join his family business despite his earlier decision not to, the unique philosophy behind Dassai sake, Dassai’s upcoming sake brewery in New York, why Kazuhiro opened a Dassai tasting space with the late famous French chef Joel Robuchon in Paris and much, much more!!!
Akiko is a first class interviewer, has great guests on but she’s always able to draw the best and most interesting things out of them.
One of my favorite shows...
I’m a big fan of this show. Akiko brings the best and most interesting guests regarding Japanese cuisine and culture. I’m looking forward to every episode.
Knack for the obvious
Material has been covered often elsewhere over the years in various travel/食べ物 books. Though most guests are contemporaneous for the podcast generation. The guests are often cool but recent guy was a real tool, talking about himself while claiming to be humble.