TRUE MASTERS Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways, teams up with Luxeat for another round of its exciting Culinary Journeys, which tell the tale of Japan’s great gastronomic craftsmen.
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ith a view that gastronomy is both an art form and a reflection of our civilisation and cultural backgrounds, Aiste Miseviciute, founder of the popular Luxeat blog, aims to share with readers the fascinating story behind every ingredient, every dish and every restaurant that she visits. Having spent a lot of time travelling around Japan and learning from different gastronomic masters, she soon
ABOVE Chefs Toshitaka Omiya, Shingo Takahashi, Tomokazu Maehira, Kentaro Nakahara with the Culinary Journey’s sponsor and Aiste Miseviciute of Luxeat. BELOW Champagne Le Brun de Neuville being served to guests.
embarked on a personal quest to bring the stories of these great shokunin, or craftspeople, into the Western limelight. “For the last four years I’ve been bringing exceptional chefs from Japan to Europe. These are chefs whose restaurants are difficult or impossible to book if you are not a regular client. “These chefs are so-called shokunin, or artisans, who dedicate all their lives for their craft”, says Miseviciute. Simply put, shokunin are artisans who dedicate their lives to their craft no matter what they do – forge knives, cut soba or make sushi. Its true meaning is much more complex than that though and is the essence of the Japanese culture and cuisine. The shokunin philosophy is as much a way of living as the way of dying and is “a social obligation to work his or her best for the general welfare of the people”, to quote Japanese sculptor Tasio Odate from his book Rice Noodle Fish. “Takaaki Sugita – one of the best, if not the best sushi masters in Japan at the moment – told me that when he dies, he would like to be known as a sushi master, not as Takaaki Sugita”, explains Miseviciute. Following the success of previous editions held in London, Ibiza and Barcelona, Luxeat and All Nippon Airways invited three of Tokyo’s best shokunins to cook in Paris, alongside Michelin-starred Toshitaka Omiya at his restaurant Affinité. Having previously worked at Arpège and Le Cinq, chef Omiya has developed a skilful method