The roughly 100 guests in attendance at the event enjoyed tastings and a demonstration from Michelin-starred Chef David Bouley, a Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador and owner-chef of both Bouley Restaurant and Brushstroke Restaurant, both located in New York’s Tribeca area.
Chef Bouley expounded on the advantages of Japanese ingredients and the diverse ways they can be used in various kinds of cooking. He particularly zeroed in on the various health benefits of kuzu, and how it can be used both to replace flour and as a versatile thickener, as well as his desire to reintroduce fermented food to the American palate.
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Terrace Room filled with the enticing scent of Chef Bouley’s dashi soup stock, prepared with Hokkaido kelp, which he later used to make a savory flan known in Japanese as chawan mushi.
Following the presentations, attendees were invited to engage in an open discussion with Chef Bouley, Professor Hamamoto and Ichiro Takahashi, Director of the Food Industry Affairs Bureau's Food Service Industry Office at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.
Guests expressed particular interest in Chef Bouley’s planned year-long sabbatical to Japan in order to more deeply explore fermentation techniques, while Director Takahashi concluded the session with an outline of his hopes for the future of Japanese ingredients in the global food market.
Guests were then treated to a light meal of chestnut rice (kuri gohan) and wagyu tataki, a form of thick-cut roast beef, matched with a variety of sake and shochu from various regions of Japan, as well as Japanese tea and sweets from Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region.