photo by courtesy of Bouley Test Kitchen
New York-Tokyo got a sneak peek at a cooking class at the Bouley Test Kitchen (88 West Broadway) in Tribeca. Hosted by Brushstroke’s Chef Isao Yamada, together with Chef David Bouley himself, the class was designed to teach the basic elements of kaiseki cuisine… but having Bouley and Yamada in control meant the focus would run wild between elementary and esoteric. More report by Michael McAteer.
The class taught by Chef David Bouley himself
One minute it was how to make everyday dashi (stock), the next moment about how to extract tomato water, or make mint oil, to add a nouvelle flare to the broth. With a charming touch of ADD, Bouley’s improvised lectures crisscrossed the core of Kaiseki technique and spiced it with home made aromatic powders, essential oils and exotic cooking products… all while giving away little secrets, like how to cook the perfect lobster for a room of 280.
Grilled black cod marinated in a walnut paste, with kuzu thickened tomato water
Enjoying course after course of mind bending preparations… yuzu sorbet topped with uni, yamaimo and ikura… chawanmushi with a crab and black truffle ankake… saikyoyaki marinated in french walnut paste and served with kuzu thickened tomato water… the experience very quickly went beyond “Japanese food” or “food” at all for that matter. Indeed, not just a cooking class, this was some sort of empowerment… a sheer display of two esoteric masters in the act of blowing minds with “ingredients and technique.” The union of nature, culture and consciousness never tasted so good.
Japanese risotto with uni (sea urchin)
Upcoming Events and Classes
May 29th, Tuesday, 6:30 P.M. Brushstroke Sommelier Seju Yang How to Pair Wine with Japanese Cuisine
June 3rd, Sunday, 12 P.M. -Edo-Mae Sushi
The sushi commonly known around the world today is a combination of fresh raw fish, and cooked rice which is seasoned with vinegar. However, this is only a single variation within many other types of sushi that exist in Japan. This particular type of sushi is a rather modern Japanese cuisine initially created by the Edo (old name for Tokyo) during the 1820’s. Learn how to make quality sushi with your own hands; the result being closer to your favorite sushi restaurant than you think. The process of treating the fish that makes it accessible, maintains freshness, color, and health benefits. The only extra requirement is the fresh sushi rice. Learn this process that is full of history and evolution.
We proudly introduce Brushstroke’s new master sushi chef Mr. Eiji Ichimura. Chef Ichimura will unveil the hidden technique and preparation of Edo-Mae sushi and let you know how good and profound the sushi world is.
June 5th, Monday, 6:30 P.M-How to Pair Sake with Western Cuisine with Brushstroke Sommelier Seju Yang
June 11th: Rice Baby Rice (and pickled vegetables too)
Rice is the staple of Japanese food, and making it just right can be rather difficult if you don’t know how. Learn from these masters the art of the perfect rice, how to mix various rice varieties, and the art of cooking in a donabe, the earthenware pot used in so many Japanese home-style dishes. We will be working with low glycemic rices, brown rice and the grains that are used to boost flavor in Japanese rice dishes. And do not worry if you don’t have donabe at home, we will give you a tip on how to cook the same good rice with your cast-iron pot like Staube or Le Creuset. Yes, Japan has paella, risotto, porridge and so on, all in a lighter and healthier Japanese style.
Usually pickled vegetables rich in vitamins are served alongside rice so this class will combine the two. Professor Murashima will teach you the quickest way to make these tasty vegetable side dishes.
June 18th: Egg Tofu and Yuba
Learn the wonderful steps to take when making Brushstroke’s signature dish Chawan-mushi, the wonderful egg custard that every restaurant critic has pointed out as one of the best dishes of the year. The Chawan-mushi base consists of only 1/4 of egg and 3/4 of dashi, making it much lighter and healthier than western-style custard.
This class also includes easy steps to making tofu. Known as one of the healthiest items on a Japanese menu, during this class you’ll learn how to make your own tofu with ease. Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein, little fat, and is high in iron, and calcium. Everyone is eating healthier today and having a starter of homemade tofu at your next dinner party will show your guests how much you care about them.
After you understand the benefits of tofu, the next stop will be a very unique product from soymilk, Yuba. Yuba is soymilk skin and often called the taste of Kyoto. Professor Narita will make and scoop Yuba right in front of your eyes and let you taste its tender, creamy, pure vegetable protein.
June 19th: Kaiseki Kaiseki Kaiseki
Learn the principles of this ritualistic Japanese multi-course meal. Hear about the commitment to seasonality, the evolution from the green tea ceremony which transformed itself into today’s kaiseki menu and in turn greatly influenced French Nouvelle cooking of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. An accurate focus on how the metabolism works to have the joy of taste, and the power of health.
And you know what? There is another “Kaiseki” in Japanese cuisine, which is spelled as “会席”, not “懐石” you may know as the one explained above. This kaiseki is an even more entertaining dinner course for sake lovers
This class is not to be missed by anyone who is a fan of Japanese cuisine.