********** Yoshinori Ishii Executive chef of Japanese restaurant UMU in London ******************
------------------ 英国の日本料理店 UMU 総料理長 石井義典 のつれづれなる話 ------------

2014年2月19日水曜日

First hanting in Cornwall 初めての狩猟


Game is often featured in the menu at the restaurant during the months between Autumn and Winter, the ingredient I adore and caught using Western tradition. Most come from huntsmen in Cornwall, however depending on the type of game, come occasionally from Northern Britain or European countries nearby.
Grasping the last chance before British’s bird hunting season closes at the end of January, Geoff, one of the supervising personnel over fishermen and huntsmen of Cornwall, generously took me along to hunting. Between his busy days as a president of family-owned company mainly dealing fish and game, also a reliable supplier of Umu, Geoff travels, sometimes miles and miles, to enjoy hunting every Monday.
Left his St. Ives home in the morning and headed to hunting spot nearby Dartmoor National Park, where we were joined by his hunting crew.  I, being totally unaware of manner or method of hunting, was surprised by the size of the pack and number of hunting dogs that they brought along.
After a short briefing, we split into groups of beaters and shooters, and beaters would hustle game out of woods located between meadows, moving into the woods from each boarder. Shooters would wait patiently for an alarmed bird to fly out with a shotgun in their hands, and at a moment of opportunity, aim and shoot.
It was after we had passed through several woods, Geoff offered me to join the shooters. In spite of my love for fishing and number of experience catching various fish, I had never killed game with my own hands before and I, quite naturally, felt uneasy stepping into new field. Nonetheless, new experience is always a blessing and I decided to take up the challenge.
I fired a shot into the air, my very first shot, to try and learn the correct posture as well as how to handle a gun. A female pheasant flew up towards my direction being chased by the hunting dog, instantly I aimed (at least I tried) then I fired my second shot.  Without a hassle, the pheasant continued to fly away, with the dog also still running after the bird. Geoff said the shot I fired had grazed its back, to which I laughed assuming he joked out of kindness not to disappoint me, but next moment the hunting dog came back with a pheasant in its mouth. As I had never imagined I could make a hit on my first trial, I was both shocked and overwhelmed.
Along the while, Geoff educated me on the method of traditional British hunting, the state of Royal family-owned forests, and a system that can preserve the nature and the hunting culture to coexist with it. He, by including humors here and there, simplified his words for me to understand better.

In the end, we caught several pheasants, pigeons, woodcocks/beccases and snipes. The catch was unexpected success despite our assumption based on the closing of season and the unpleasant weather.

After returning to St. Ives, I was invited to join a birthday party hosted by Naomi, Geoff’s daughter who also sends us fish on daily basis to Umu, for her husband at her home. Geoff looked blessed surrounded by members of heartwarming family and relatives enjoying Naomi’s delicious homemade food, and I had such blessed experience. 

秋から冬にかけて、欧州の伝統でもあり、私自身も大好きな食材として狩猟による鳥獣をUMUではよく料理します。多くはCornwallの猟師から届きますが、その種類によっては英国北部、或いは他のヨーロッパ諸国から入手します。  


英国の鳥類の狩猟シーズンが今月一杯で終わるため、最後のチャンスでCornwallの漁業、狩猟のリーダーの一人であるGeoffに狩猟に連れて行ってもらいました。彼は現在は主に魚と狩猟肉を扱う家族経営の会社の社長として、UMUにも素晴らしい食材を提供してくれている傍ら、毎週月曜日、時には遠方まで足を伸ばして狩猟を楽しんでいます。

朝、St.Ives の彼の自宅から出発Dartmoor National parkのそばの狩猟場所に到着し、彼の狩猟仲間と合流しました。猟の仕方など何も聞いていなかったので人数の多さと連れてきている猟犬の数に驚きました。

簡単な打ち合わせの後、追い立て方(beater)と撃ち方(shooter)に別れ、牧草地の中になる小さな林を端から順に人と犬とが追い立てます。驚いた鳥が林から飛び出すのを待ち構えた撃ち方が散弾銃で撃つという方法でした。

幾つかの林を廻るうちに、Geoffから撃ち方をやらないかと誘われました。釣り好きで多くの魚をとってきた私ですが、鳥獣を自ら殺したことは経験がなく、ちょっぴり気が引けましたが、経験も必要かとチャレンジしました。一発目、試しに空に向かって撃ち、姿勢と銃の扱い方を教わりました。そして二発目、犬が追い立てたメスのキジが私のほうに飛んできたとき、狙いを定めて(定めたつもりで)撃ちました。キジはそのまま飛び去ってゆきましたが、Geoffの犬がその後を追ってゆきました。Geoffは“お前の撃った弾がキジの背中をかすめた。”と言います。私を喜ばせるためになんてすてきなジョークだろうと笑っていると、犬がキジを咥えて帰ってきました。初めての経験でまさか当たるとは思っていなかったので本当に驚くと共に感激しました。

Geoffからは英国の伝統的な狩猟のやり方、王室の所有する森のありかた、狩猟を続けながら同時に自然を守り続けるシステムなどの話を聞きました。彼はユーモアを混ぜながら私の英語力でも理解できるようにとても分かりやすく説明してくれました。

最終的には多くのキジ(pheasant)、山鳩(pigeon)、ヤマシギ(Woodcock, Beccase)、シギ(Snipe)が獲れました。シーズン最後で天気も非常に悪かったので皆あまり期待していなかった割には大収穫でした。

St.Ivesに帰ってから、Geoffの娘さんであり、いつもUMUに魚を送ってくれるNaomiの家で、彼女の旦那さんのバースデーパーティーに呼ばれました。彼女の手料理と、多くのやさしくてあったかい家族に囲まれたGeoffはとても幸せそうでしたし、私自身もとても楽しい思い出になりました。

 

2014年2月2日日曜日

Fish Fish Fish! 北大西洋の魚たち


Almost 2 years have passed since I began dealing personally and directly with domestic fishermen, and over the course, we have built a great relationship to an extent that, time to time, they would send me rare fish that are accidently caught to give me enchanting surprises.













Finding a joy in encountering new delicious fish, having a laugh at funny looking ones, and being amazed by the fish’s completely unfamiliar taste despite its similarity in looks to those found in the Pacific Ocean near Japan; these occasional gifts brings amusements and excitements to me and the team between our hectic days at work. Moreover, I feel most delighted that our discoveries of new fish and its characters enable us to bring better experience to guests.

On the other hand, those fish much alike to or of the family of gadid that are often seen on fishing boats, though diverse preparations have been tried, are yet to be perfected for us to present to the guests. One by one, I wish to overcome this new challenge.
I am always thankful for the blessings of the sea and the fishermen who courageously continue to challenge unpredictable nature of the sea.





国内の漁師さんと直接取引をするようになってから、2年が経とうとしていますがその間に素敵な人間関係が生まれ、珍しい魚が釣り上げられたり網に入ったりした時、私を喜ばせようと送ってくれるようになりました。新たな美味しい魚を見つけて喜んだり、滑稽な魚の姿でスタッフの間でふざけあったり、太平洋の魚とほとんど同じ形でも全く違う味で驚いたりと、みんなの楽しみになって、またそれがお客様に喜んでいただくことにつながり、嬉しい限りです。
 ボートの上でいつも見ている鱈のような魚を、いろいろなアレンジを加えて料理してみても、まだお店で使う料理に仕上げることが出来ない魚がいるのはちょっぴり寂しいのですが、一つ一つクリアーしてゆきたいと思います。
 海の恵と、悪天候の中海に出てくれる漁師さんにいつでも感謝感謝です。

2013年11月9日土曜日

2nd pop up restaurant in Frieze Master 2013


 Following last year, Frieze Masters art fair was held at Regent’s Park once again and Umu has also successfully showcased pop-up restaurant for the second time within its site. The preparation had begun few months back, and this time around, a team of apprentices took initiatives and showed potential leadership, which led us to great prosperity. To acquire fish of the same standard of quality as those used at the restaurant daily, but doubled or tripled in quantity, was not only difficult but, combined with the unfortunate weather from the middle of the week, became an almost impossible request for the fishermen to meet. However, by the supports from many, we have overcome these 6 days soundly and with huge accomplishments.
I would like to thank again, as I had also expressed in the previous year, to producers& merchants who continue to support us on daily basis, staff of Marc restaurant who flexibly familiarized themselves with serving Japanese cuisine in an also unfamiliar setting, and finally, Umu staff who, by cooperating with one another, carried out hard work at both the pop-up site and the restaurant. Thank you. 





 昨年に引き続き、Frieze Master art fair Regent Parkにて行われ、UMUにとって二度目となるポップアップレストランが終了しました。数ヶ月前から準備を始めましたが、今年は二度目だけあって若手のチームが率先してリーダーシップを発揮し、大盛況に終わりました。Mayfairのお店で使われている魚と全く同じレベルのものを普段の数倍の量揃えるのは大変で、さらに週の半ばからの悪天候になって漁師の方には無理を言いましたが、多くの方の協力もあって無事6日間が終了しました。
 いつもご協力いただいている生産者、業者の方々、初めての日本料理のサービスを、初めての場所で臨機応変に手伝ってくれたMarc restaurantのスタッフ、そしてお店とポップアップレストランの両方を掛け持ちで協力し合ってくれたUMUの全てのスタッフに感謝、感謝の1週間でした。

2013年9月4日水曜日

Robb Report Culinary Masters competition Vol.2


Vol.2 Menu 

(Amuse bouche) 

“3 city style of sushi bite size” 
Rock crab zucchini
Seared toro with Japanese herbs
Sockeye Salmon Temari with plum sauce, white asparagus 

3 varieties of sushi as amuse bouche, prepared by Mark who accompanied me all the way from London. Types of Sushi comprised a variation of Edo-style classic sushi, an inspiration that came from Kyoto’s specialty Temari-sushi and a contemporary original from Umu, London. All served in a bite-size to be enjoyed along with cocktails.
 

(Fruits of Summer Sea) 

“Kaiyose-nuta” 
Santa Barbara sea urchin with grilled eggplant mousse, umadashi jelly
Abalone, mirugai (geoduck), scallop, botan-ebi, fresh almond,
Miso mustard sauce, egg sauce, chive oil, corn-flower 

1st course for the sit-down dinner was “Fruit of the Summer Sea”, a dish derived from “Nuta” – a Japanese dish with vinegar and miso seasoning. White miso & citrus-based “Karashi-su-miso” sauce (mixture of mustard, vinegar and miso) and chive oil were arranged on a plate with a collection of shellfish to complement each other. Slow-steamed abalone, blanched scallop, botan shrimp that lightly marinated in sake and bonito, and fresh Geoduck clam – a range of shellfish used and the cooking method applied on each ingredient altogether added diversity to the plate. Sea urchin was served with grilled aubergine & chick pea puree to create a harmony of sweetness and bitterness. 
 

(Sashimi) 

“Usuzukuri” of fluke with chirizu 
(Message from Chef Yoshi in his own woodblock print)
“Billions of People, from Hundreds of Countries,
be Happy together, with one Delicious Dish”
 

Circumstances, such as the dinner being held at a hotel, restricted Japanese tableware from being an option as a part of presentation, and yet I bore a strong desire to challenge myself in preparing a 60 serving “Usuzukuri” (thinly sliced sashimi) plate. Consequently I came to a decision to handcraft a woodblock print, as my first trial ever, with a message that would be made visible through a glass plate. A Japanese culinary culture to enjoy polychromatic artworks of crockery through freshly preserved and thinly sliced fluke that coincides with the concept of transparency; Japanese traditional techniques in woodblock print and handcrafting a paper; with these techniques, my message was written to the world, and upon which example of Japanese culinary art was presented; and most of all, a delight combination of perfectly chilled, transparent sashimi and refreshing lime-based sauce “chirizu”; all of the above were compiled and concentrated within what was offered on the single glass plate.

The idea of this particular dish I developed immediately after I’d received the nomination has come to an actual form after months worth of preparation for the woodblock print and a profound search for a local fisherman who would provide a fresh fluke that could be kept alive up until the dinner. This plate became the one that most strongly connected to my heart.  


(Fish) 

“Shichimi-yaki” 
Maine lobster, tofu bisque, yuzu foam 

3rd course was an original dish from Umu, and also a devoir to MORIMOTO’s signature dish Lobster Epise – “Lobster Shichimi-yaki with tofu bisque”. Blue lobster from Cornwall or Scotland is typically the main ingredient for the dish at Umu, however red lobster from Maine State was used instead for this particular dinner. Lobster meat from tails and claws was heaped, after grilled in high temperature until crispy on outside, upon bisque that was created from a mixture of corail sauce, tofu and thick stock from shells. The dish is accented with home-blended shichimi, buttery scent and yuzu foam.
 

(Meat) 

“Wagyu beef” 
Mushroom rice, farmer’s market bouquet
Demiglace wasabi soy sauce, mushroom sauce 

4th course centered on a proud specialty of Japan, Wagyu beef. On the side were a variety of mushrooms I acquired at Farmers Market in Santa Monica, and a bouquet of vegetables, the idea that came to my mind right there at the market. Topped with a wasabi sauce, prepared over 6 days period since we had landed.  
 

(Dessert) 

“Beverly Hills’ Garden” 
“Charamisu”
Green tea, Ginjyo-sake 

Finally, “Beverly Hills’ Garden”, a piece from my playful mind offered as 5th and the final course. The venue was the terrace area of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a landmark-like building located at the entrance of the Rodeo Drive, and my plan was to create a setting for the guests to enjoy doing a little “gardening” at their tables. Umu’s signature dessert “Charamisu”, flavoured with matcha green tea and Daiginjo sake, was “planted” in a flowerpot and garnished with edible flowers. To finish, guests “water” the flowerpot with white peach-infused Daiginjo sake from a miniature watering can.


 

Vol.2 Menu
 

(Amuse bouche) 

 “3city style of Sushi bite size” 
Rock Crab zucchini
Seared toro with Japanese herbs
Sockeye Salmon Temari with plum sauce, white asparagus
 
 

アミューズブッシュは寿司3種。ロンドンから付いてきてくれたMarkの出番です。江戸前寿司をアレンジしたもの、京都の手毬寿司をアレンジしたもの、そしてロンドンのUMUオリジナルのもの。カクテルと一緒に一口サイズで楽しんでいただきました。 

( Fruits of Summer Sea) 

“Kaiyose-nuta” 
Santa Barbara sea urchin with grilled eggplant mousse, umadashi jelly
Abalone, Mirugai (geoduck), Scallop, Botan-ebi, Fresh almond,
Miso mustard sauce, egg sauce, chive oil, corn-flower
着席後、一皿目は“海のフルーツ”。日本料理の“ぬた”を私流にアレンジしたもので白みそと柑橘ベースの辛子酢味噌とチャイブオイルで様々な甲殻類を楽しんでもらう皿です。調理法も長時間蒸した鮑、さっとあぶった帆立、酒と昆布で短時間マリネしたボタンエビ、生のままのミル貝とバラエティーをもたせました。さらにウニは焼き茄子とひよこ豆のピュレの苦みと甘みを一緒に楽しんでもらえるように仕上げました。

(Sashimi) 

“Usuzukuri” of fluke with chirizu 
 (Message from Chef Yoshi in his own wood-Block print)
 “Billions of people, Hundreds of countries, Happy together, with delicious foods”
ホテルでの料理ということもあり、和食器は全く使えないことは前もってわかっており、それでいて二皿目は60人前の薄造りを提供することをチャレンジしたいという思いも強く、今回初めての試みで版画でメッセージカードを自作し、ガラス板を通してメッセージが見られるようにしてみました。活け〆のヒラメの薄造りを通して食器の色絵を楽しむ“透ける”という日本文化、日本版画と手摺和紙の技術、そこに書いた世界に向けたメッセージと日本料理技術、そして何より、きりっと冷えて透き通った極上の身をさっぱりとしたライムベースのちり酢楽しんでもらうという全てを凝縮させた一皿です。オファーをもらってから真っ先に思いついたことでしたので2カ月をかけて版画を摺り、ぎりぎりまで生きたヒラメを提供してくれる現地の釣り師を探してやっと実現した一皿でした。私の中ではもっとも思い入れが強い皿となりました。

(Fish)

“Shichimi-yaki”
Main lobster, tofu bisque, yuzu foam 
三皿目はUMUのオリジナル料理でもあり、MORIMOTOのシグニチャーディッシュであるLobster Episeに敬意を表した料理でもある“ Lobsterの七味焼き、豆腐ビスク”。UMUではCornwallやスコットランド産の青ロブスターを使っていますが、アメリカではメイン州の赤ロブスターを使いました。殻から取った濃厚な出汁と、コライユ、豆腐を合わせたビスクを敷いた上に中がほんのりあたたかく、外はパリッと高温で焼き上げた尾とハサミの身を盛り、自家製ブレンドの七味とバターの香り、柚子の泡でアクセントをつけました。 

(Meat) 

“Japanese Wagyu beef” 
Mushroom rice, farmer’s market bouquet
Demiglace wasabi soy sauce, mushroom sauce
 
四皿目は日本が誇る和牛。サンタモニカのファーマーズマーケットで見つけたキノコいろいろとそこでイメージした野菜の花束、到着から六日間かけて作った山葵ソースを盛りつけました。 

(Dessert) 

 Field of Beverly Hills  
“Charamisu”
 green tea, ginjyo-sake 
五皿目は私のちょっとしたジョーク、“ビバリーヒルズの花壇”。会場のホテルはロデオドライブの起点、ランドマーク的なホテルでそのテラスが会場ということもあり、テーブルの上でガーデニングを楽しんでもらおうという趣向です。UMUでも定番となっている抹茶と大吟醸酒で仕立てた“チャラミス”を植木鉢の中で造り、その上に花を飾って上から白桃の香りをつけた大吟醸酒をジョウロでかけてもらうという楽しいものでした。