TORONTO — Students from George Brown College culinary program were treated to more than a taste of Japanese food yesterday, they were exposed to the tenets behind the popular cuisine.
Visiting Japanese chef Naoyuki Yanagihara was the star attraction at last night’s culinary demo at the cooking school. The respected chef, who hails from Tokyo, has been on a multi-city tour over the past three months, on behalf of his country’s government, in a bid to bring a better understanding of Japanese cuisine throughout the world. The tour has included stops in Brazil, Ottawa and Toronto in recent weeks.
Yanagihara spoke to a room full of culinary students, guiding them through the principles of Japanese cooking, with a focus on the regional specialties of the cuisine. “Seventy per cent of Japan is mountains, while 30 per cent is flat; that’s where we grow our rice and vegetables, but it’s the mountains that make Japanese cooking,” he explained.
The chef stressed the historical importance of the cuisine, noting that recipes are typically handed down from generation to generation, something Yanaghihara knows all too well. He grew up in a family of cooks dating back 200 years. “Food is food,” said Yanagihara, “but it’s important to prepare it with integrity.”
Yanagihara spoke of the need to keep meals balanced, and touched on the importance of focusing on the four characteristics of Japanese cuisine: variety, health, social events and custom, and natural beauty. After the cooking demo, students were treated to a sampling of Japanese cuisine from some of the city’s leading Japanese restaurants as part of the school’s Culinary Cities of the World series.