...of the very most delicious kind!
I had the divine pleasure of starting my day off today in Soho at the International Culinary Center (it's super cool and affiliated with the French Culinary Institute)! Thanks to my internship at Restaurant Business Magazine, I was able to go to the Celebration of Japanese Cuisines lecture series this weekend as am "associate editor" (check that out!). I could only make it to the chef demo this afternoon, but that was more than amazing! This is Josh DeChellis, executive chef of La Fonda Del Sol, which is a fancy Park Ave. restaurant;
He lead a lovely demo, featuring a few interesting Japanese ingredients, and he is not fancy pants at all. I learned a lot-- the way that the nagaimo cream-i-fied when microplaned totally blew my mind-- but the best part was of course tasting!
First, cold, silky somen noodles tossed with uni puree and topped with arare (puffed rice thingys) and a bit of nori (seaweed). It was refreshing and delicately of the ocean, like seafoam maybe- a kiss of the sea.
Secondly, a super complicated process for a beautifully clean finished product. Nagaimo pureed with lovely scallops from Hokkaido, then foamed with a whipped cream cannister. Then the foam is dolloped into simmering dashi to poach. Finally, the little foamy pillows are placed in a bit of Dargeeling-smoked unagi (eel) broth. Somehow, it was perfect. SuperUmami!
Chef DeChellis calls them "Clouds over Kyoto", which he was quick to admit is kind of hokey. Sometimes true sentiment is hokey and cheesy and there's just nothing to be done about it. They were cloud-like, ethereal and very beautiful so I think it's only right they should have a beautiful name.
Phew. All in a days work. Life is tough. Did I mention winter in New York is treating me quite well? Sun, sun, sun, all the time. As though the city weren't already spoiling me enough...