Chef Tadashi Ono – Matsuri, NY

by KORIN on December 1, 2011

Tadashi Ono is a celebrated chef who has won plaudits for both his Japanese and French cooking in The New York Times, Gourmet, Food & Wine and other publications. Born and raised in Tokyo, Tadashi began training as a chef at the age of sixteen. Throughout his career, he has worked at restaurants such as  Le Petite Chaya, L’Orangerie and La Caravelle.

After spending 9 years as the executive chef of La Caravelle, one of America’s top French restaurants, Tadashi felt the pull of his Japanese cooking roots and opened up the fine dining restaurant Sono. In 2003 he launched Matsuri, where he introduced vibrant, modern Japanese cooking to wide acclaim. Tadashi is also the coauthor of “Japanese Hot Pots,” and “The Japanese Grill,” (Ten Speed Press). Besides cooking, Tadashi is an accomplished potter and avid student of Japanese food culture. He considers the legendary Japanese chef, ceramicist and author Rosanjin his mentor and inspiration.

As a good friend of ours, we are delighted to share our short interview with Tadashi-san!

Tadashi-san’s knives

What’s your favorite knife and why?

Sashimi knife (yanagi), I have 33cm stain resistant high carbon steel knife. It is beautiful to look at; it looks like a Katana (sword). It’s got great balance; the single blade is perfect for precise slicing. If you get used to it you can also use it in many different ways too.

What was your first knife and why?

Gyu-tou 30cm (all purpose), (sugimoto high carbon). I start my cooking work in a westernized Japanese restaurant in Tokyo and they tend to like this maker (the chef of the restaurant told me to buy it). This knife can be used as a “chef knife” and you can also use it for cutting vegetables, and slicing meat/fish.

What’s your favorite restaurant (not the one you work at) and why?

Omen in Soho, show casing authentic Kyoto cuisine but not Kaiseki. They are homey, cozy and heart warming. The food is always high quality but not too showy. It is consistent, too. No wonder they have been there for 30 years.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare for yourself and why?

Japanese hot pots in winter and Japanese grilling in summer. They are the soul food of Japan. A one-pot hot pot meal is easy, healthy and delicious. It has great nutritional balance and nothing goes to waste. It’s a great way to get family and friends together. Outdoor BBQ is my favorite meal in the summer. It is fun, delicious and a great way to get family together.

What’s next?

I’m working with my co-author Harris Salat for our third cooking book call “Japanese Soul”. It is about the comfort food of Japan. It will be published in fall 2012. I’m also trying to put together a Japanese beer garden (hall) in Brooklyn.


Nenohi Nenox Green Limited Edition Knives

by KORIN on October 21, 2011

It’s hard to improve upon something as great as Nenohi Nenox knives. From their high-carbon stainless blades to their ergonomic and elegant design, they are a testament to the quality of Nenohi.

Nenohi’s very limited run of the Green-handled Nenox knives have just arrived. They feature a handle made of molded calf bone and DuPont Corian. The natural material lends a radiant, warm feel to the handle, and its beautiful color resembles the luster of an emerald.

Our supplies are extremely limited, so we recommend calling us directly at 800-626-2172 if you are interested in acquiring one of these stunning knives.

We currently have one of each of the 3 models in stock:

HNE-SG-G-210 Nenohi Nenox Green Handle Gyutou 8.2″ (21cm) $732.00
HNE-SG-YD-165 Nenohi Nenox Green Handle Yo-deba 6.4″ (16.5cm) $788
HNE-SG-P-150 Nenohi Nenox Green Handle Petty 5.9″ (150mm) $432


Chef David Bouley – Bouley, NY

by KORIN on April 24, 2011

Chef Bouley recommends the Usaba, Yanagi and Deba for those curious about buying their first traditional style Japanese knife!

David Bouley worked in restaurants around the world before opening his own in 1987. Located in TriBeCa, Bouley earned a myriad of awards and recognition and is the only restaurant to achieve a 29 out of 30 food rating in Zagat Survey. After 9/11, he opened “Green Tarp” at Ground Zero to feed relief workers 24 hours a day for four weeks. He has combined his love of French and American cuisines with that of Japan to open both a sushi section of Bouley Bakery and to work with the famed Tsuji Cooking School in his cutting-edge test kitchen.


You have been very involved with Japanese cuisine and the Tsuji Cooking School in your test kitchen. What are the most important things you’ve learned from the collaboration?

Eight years ago I had an opportunity to go abroad and cook for the royal family of Thailand. I spent 2-3 weeks beforehand with Mr. Shizuo Tsuji. We started with the basics: salt, types of fish, dashi, miso. I was fortunate to get this preliminary understanding – it was Japan’s Culinary Culture 101! Over the years I was able to build on that knowledge, learn more and go deeper into topics like the preparation for Kaiseki, regional cooking (we even studied Okinawa), miso…we made 70-100 dishes in a week with Mr.Tsuji in the test kitchen because understanding the basic elements of anything is key.


What is the most important aspect of cooking to you?

To be a chef you must star t out by gaining an intimate relationship with the products you are using and building solid technique to use them. Once you have these two things, you can go off and be creative.


What do you think of the recent popularity of Japanese food and Japanese knives?

Increased interest in Japanese food is a great thing in the fact that it makes it easier for us to get fine quality artisanal product from Japan now, but you still need the proper knowledge to use those ingredients, in the same way that you need to know how to use a tool like a traditional Japanese knife. I had four days of intensive training in Japan when I started using Japanese knives and was lucky enough to visit knife makers and see how the knives are made. This type of comprehensive knowledge is important.


Which is your most often used knife?

I use carbon steel – they remind me of the old style. The single-edged traditional Japanese knives are perfect for what they are designed to do. Take the Yanagi, for example. The one-sided blade pulls the meat up onto the long, flat edge as you slice and you can make a cleaner cut with less crushing of the cells of the food.


Do you have any advice for chefs who are thinking about buying their first traditional style Japanese knife?

The Usuba,Yanagi, Deba – if you are going to use a tool, you should learn how to use it. Read about the tool, learn how it works, what it’s made for. You have to learn to use a tool – a knife, a motorcycle, a product – to its full potential as it was originally designed. The well designed knife already knows what to do. You must learn to let the knife do its own thing. Then you will appreciate that knife. When buying knives you must understand yourself and your interests.You should know what your job is and understand what your knife has to do.You don’t need the most expensive knife; you need to learn how to use the engineering for what it was made for – and enjoy the ride!


Chef Daniel Boulud – Daniel, NY

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Chef David Myers – Sona, LA

April 22, 2011

David Myers began his life-long infatuation with food as a child helping out in the gardens on his grandparents’ farm. Working for Chefs Charlie Trotter, Gerard Boyer, and a protégé of Daniel Boulud, Myers prospered as a chef. His career as Owner-Chef of Los Angeles’ Sona has earned him numerous accolades, television appearances and appreciative [...]

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Chef Kenichiro Ooe – Kozue, Park Hyatt Tokyo

April 20, 2011

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Chef Carl Redding – Amy Ruth’s, NY

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Chef Michael Romano – Union Square Cafe, NY

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Michael Romano studied and flourished as a cook at the New York City Technical College, then became one of the first Americans in some of France’s most important restaurants. As the Executive Chef of Union Square Café, which he presently runs with partner Danny Meyer, Romano has helped the restaurant earn a glowing reputation; for [...]

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Chef Lionel Giraud – La Table Saint Crescent, France

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Lionel Giraud is the son of onetime 2-star Michelin chef Claude Giraud. As a kid his favourite playground was his dad’s kitchen. After a diligent training at the Crillon, the Ritz and some time spent with Michel Guerard, he took off for Bucharest where he opened his restaurant La Villa Bucarest. In 2003, back in [...]

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Chef Alexandre Couillon – La Marine, France

April 15, 2011

Alexandre Couillon is the Chef and owner of La Marine, located just across the harbour in the fisherman’s town of L’Herbaudiere on Noirmoutier Island. Alexandre, a former student of Guerard and Thierr y Marx, has been recently awarded the “Hope Trophee”, a distinction among young chefs who should best serve French gastronomy’s future in the [...]

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