Kathy Gunst, a radio journalist and the resident chef at NPR’s Here and Now, interviewed chef Jacques Pépin for the first time on the radio about ten years ago. She wanted to hear about what he had learned from his many decades in the kitchen. What he said surprised her. Because what he described did not have to do with flavor combinations or ingredient sourcing. It had to do with sound.Pépin told her he could walk into a kitchen where a young cook was searing a steak and immediately tell if the steak was going to be overcooked. Not by looking. Just by the quality of the sound.
The thanksgiving special set was most excellent over at the Four Seasons. The turkey and fixin’s – quite brilliant. The bread – quite a disaster. They would have been better off going to a convenience store for that. I was extremely shocked. Another surprising thing is the entrance to the hotel. I expected some grand hall, but the one in Tokyo feels more like a service entrance way around the back of the building – apparently this location has no ‘front.’ Of course, a deluge began without warning over the course of the meal, but the concierge was kind enough to provide umbrellas from the lost & found to aid us in our egress.
As I was born at 3:54 am in America, this would be the actual birthday dinner. We went to だんまや, a local Asakusa izakaya. Every thing was quite brilliant. Shrimp and tuna sashimi, salmon sushi, potato salad, a wonderful salty fish, surprisingly good shrimp/cheese rolls, skewered scallop, and a huge salted prawn. The shocking thing was a tofu pizza. It sounds horrible, but it really works! It’s deep fried tofu with tomato sauce and cheese and peppers. I also tried for the first time a kiwi sour … you grind up a kiwi and put it in the drink. Very nice indeed.