Limited to 8 customers a day. Providing ideal food and service with small but talented team.
Now the current team has 3 people. It seems like a small but talented team.
Yes, indeed. Once before we had a manager in charge of the hall and a service man with a license of sommelier, but since I felt a gap between my desire to serve food just cooked to the tables as soon as possible and the way of thinking of the service man that want to provide information to the customers as service, so I boldly reduced a person expertising the hall.
The current staff are young 2, who is a woman with 7 years of cooking experience and a man with 5 years of it. 3 of us concentrate on preparation from the morning and prepare the setting of the hall before the open, and during the business hour everyone of us goes back and forth the kitchen and the hall.
Is that true that you don’t serve wine by a bottle?
There are about 1300 bottles of wine, but we all serve by glasses. It is basically between 8,000 to 18,000 yen for 4 glasses and we adjust to their tastes, class, and conditions.
I serve 15 glasses per person at maximum, and open high-classed one which generally is served only by a bottle, so I think we are quite reasonable for wine.
When I was in France, I also fell into wines and was doing Oenologue job that brewers wines from planting grapes, so I know a lot of producers.
When I choose wine that matches food, I imaging the faces of the producers and imagine their characteristics and tastes, so it might be a different approach from a normal sommelier. For example, producers who loves ram, they make wine that matches with ram meat. It is mysterious.
I think that pearing food and alcohol is not absolute. There are infinite combinations and taste is something that is subjective in the first place. So I think my way of approaching allows people to enjoy food more.
Having your 6th year after independence, please tell me what you feel now.
It is the most fun now. After limiting to 8 customers a day, repeaters are 90% so it is hard to accept new customers and that is something I worry but I can do what I want to do and buy what I want, too.
I concentrate on a course for dinner to the one of 22,000 yen only.Everyday I think about the menu for the following day in front of food materials that I carefully selected from all over Japan, and I enjoy creating food that I express my originality.
When it comes to food materials, I focus on buying ones with the highest quality or valuable ones that are obtainable and I am able to do so now. For example, I have business with about 60 companies for seafood, I tend to choose only ones with good quality that each one of them recommends with confidence.
For the plates many of them are ordered specially and last summer the cloche that I had been looking forward to has been made. I have been wanting a cloche that is modern and with an impact that does not stack up against the characteristics of the food and I ordered to a bronze artist. It is made of pure silver outside and inside it is gold colored brass. I love a massive balled shape of handmade, made by knocking one by one.
At the end could you tell me your goal for the future?
Through my food I want to support Japanese producers by having people in the world know about wonderful Japanese food materials.
For example, I think we should buy materials at high quality, which are made my a lot of efforts by the producers or found, as expensive as possible but generally not all of them are fairly evaluated. For that I think it is necessary to deepen the knowledge of food materials.
Also when we, chefs at their 30s, there were many contents in media, using high classed food and food materials as them such as TV program called, “Iron Chef” , and comic books called, “Oishinbo”. But what are seen are all about B classed gourmet.
I fear that as food culture and food materials at high quality, which tell people essential things, become weekly related, the field of food might be smaller.
If the field expands, there more people, more competition, and it leads the development. I want to think about making the chance and way to broadcast it.
(Interview: Osamu Saito Writer: Tomoko Murayama Photographer: Tomoyasu Osakabe)