11.26 Tue 19:00 START
Two key figures of Tokyo’s culinary scene – Masamichi Toyama, the chairman of Smiles, the company behind SOUP STOCK TOKYO, and Daichi Tajima, the food menu director for INTERSECT BY LEXUS, came together for the workshop, which was conducted under the theme of amazing experiences through food.
Moderated by Chiemi Kominato, the editor in chief of Fashionsnap.com, the event began with an open discussion between the two men, whose pasts turned out to be intertwined. They recalled that Mr. Tajima had once worked as a chef at one of Mr. Toyama’s restaurants, before going on to talk about the two men’s current collaboration on the CONTENT Restaurant at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. After this, they moved on to more general topics, including their different approaches to their shared field of cuisine.
The two guest speakers responded to questions from guests, using anecdotes about the pleasures of savoring local cuisine when traveling and how this influences menu creation, expressing the essence of cuisine through people’s enjoyment of it.
The highlight of the event was the two tasting sessions that were prepared for the guests, based on menus conceived by Mr. Toyama and Mr. Tajima. The first featured a full-course meal in the form of cotton candy, starting with an aperitif, and followed by hors-d’oeuvres, a main dish, a dessert and finally a post-meal drink. The flavors of Campari-orange aperitif, the crystal tomato Genovese amuse-gueule, the main dish of foie gras sauté in balsamic vinegar sauce and so on were each condensed into original granulated sugar cubes and placed in a cotton-candy machine at the venue, to create a host of different dishes. Comments of surprise and delight were heard from guests as they also tried their hand at making and tasting their own cotton candy. The novel menu blended nostalgic but at the same time new elements, creating a truly amazing experience that surpassed expectations.
The second tasting session featured a Hokkaido shika (deer) roast with a spiced port wine sauce. Mr. Tajima’s desire was to allow people to rediscover the taste of deer meat. Many people had not tried it before, as the thought of wild game often induces a certain resistance. With a desire to broaden people’s minds in relation to food, Mr. Tajima wished to bring out all the flavors of the ingredients and for people to enjoy the food together with wine. People who had never tried deer meat were delighted by the amazing experience.
“I always think about what kind of experience I can offer through food,” Mr. Tajima explained, looking toward future menus. “This applies even to very familiar food. For example, putting pickled vegetables into kare-pan (curry bread) adds a new essence, which makes for interesting discoveries.” Tajima-san’s creativity essentially stems from creating new flavors based on an ever-evolving palette that he develops by constantly trying new things. Toward the end of the event, Chiemi Kominato asked the two speakers the very simple philosophical question of what food means to them. Mr. Tajima responded that it is both his work and his hobby; business as well as pleasure. Mr. Toyama added that he thinks it is also a means of communication and a way of expressing one’s own style. The event, which explored amazing experiences through food, showcased cuisine devised with creative imagination and inspired people to change their perceptions about food.
Guests were given the opportunity to make new discoveries through hands-on experience at the event in a laid back atmosphere.
A detailed report on the event is available at Fashionsnap.com.