In April, at the invitation of the Four Seasons Hotel at Marunouchi, in Tokyo, Japan King Estate Executive Chef Michael Landsberg spent a week in Tokyo preparing several special meals at the prestigious hotel. The guest appearance included the presentation of a number of lunches and dinners, several cooking classes, and culminated with a delectable 5 course gala dinner. The following are Chef Landsberg’s reflections on the successful trip, and at the bottom a gallery of photographs.
Traveling to Japan was such a lively and exhilarating experience. The restaurant options one has to choose from are mind-blowing and seemingly endless. There is everything from ramen (Japanese noodles), to world-class sushi, to the traditional ‘one-pot’ spots. The food presentation is inviting and highly polished, whether you are ordering from a world-class establishment, a department store food court, or from a vendor in Tokyo train station. Packaging is pivotal and rote, the Japanese truly believe that food should satisfy all of the senses.
Some of the highlights of my trip were visiting the world famous Tskiji Fish Market where I saw a plethora of everything imaginable (and many things unimaginable!) in the world of fish. I got a glimpse of the Tuna auctions, saw all kinds of live fish, and witnessed masterly techniques of butchering a wide variety of fish and shellfish.
Things that I have learned and gained: The Japanese are very technically skilled and hard working people, and they take so much pride in their work. Precision and consistency are among the most highly regarded qualities in a culinary professional. Unlike the Pacific Northwest where local, sustainable and seasonal are the buzzwords, in the island country of Japan they must cull food products from all over the world. The level of customer service across the board in Japan is awe inspiring, so attentive and professional, comparable to the most impressive service in America’s fine restaurants. Every customer is treated with the utmost importance.
I can’t wait to return to learn more, and I look forward to incorporating much of what I have learned into the culinary program here at King Estate.
King Estate Winery