THE ADDRESS Magazine Summer 2014 - Page 352

What aspect of being a chef is most gratifying for you? Happy guests. Most definitely the most gratifying aspect. If you could cook for and dine with anyone, who would that be? I would be quite keen to cook for and dine with Black Francis of the Pixies. Ive always been fascinated by his creativity What is your favourite national or regional cuisine? Japanese When you are at home and want to cook, what do you prepare? All kinds of things, pizza, BBQ, Moroccan, all sorts. Do you think being a great chef is a natural talent, or is it something anyone can learn? I guess if you have a passion for something and work hard at it then, no matter what, you’ll achieve some level of greatness. How has your cooking evolved over the years? It has been through stages, from trying too hard to be refined, and then in an about turn, all the pretence gets scrapped and its back to food that’s for eating and not gratifying only to chefs and their egos. How do you define your cuisine? Post-Japanese. But in all; honesty, I try to look at my dishes as being tasty, approachable (not much by way of oddball ingredients) and they should be eaten in a very social way; sharing and having a good time. What is the most memorable food city in the world? New York or London, both have amazing food experiences, which, in my opinion can't be replicated in anywhere else. Of course Tokyo is another outstanding food experience. 352 Where do you get your creative inspiration from? Nowhere in particular, it can come from out of nowhere sometimes. It may be related to a food experience, a journey or somebody's random comments on the tube What’s been the highlight of your career so far? Kurobuta; two years ago this was merely a dream. Now we have two busy restaurants in London, a summer pop-up with the Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum and I will be working on a late night version of Kurobuta, set to launch this summer as well. You have had the fortune of travelling across the globe. Can you share two of your favourite experiences as far as your culinary expeditions are concerned? Cooking fresh salmon on the edge of a loche in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. We built a fire with peat, made a little smoker in the rocks and even came up with a really cool sashimi dish, amazing fun and amazing fresh salmon. Once, a great mate, Mike and I set up a kind of pan-Asian restaurant in France. We had all the ambition in the world, but we were young and had never actually managed a restaurant before. One day we ran out of gas in the middle of service, we used to have the cooker hooked up to a gas bottle, this was ahead of a mains gas supply in that town. Mike raced out with a borrowed car to try and get more gas, I had to try and get as much food out 'sans-gas' as possible. We somehow kept things rolling and got the supply hooked back up. Mike had been speeding through stop signs and red lights with this extra large canister of gas in the back seat of the car; the things we do to get the show back on the road!