A Taste of Japan A Le Cordon Bleu
It takes a rare individual not to be fascinated by Japanese culture. From the Geishas and Sumos of ancient tradition, to Manga, Samurai, slashers and street fashion, there is something for everyone.
Japanese cuisine, too, has widespread appeal. An art in itself, it marries simplicity with the finest ingredients, winning hearts and minds along the way. But even the most die hard of Japanophiles will confess to the mystique surrounding the ingredients and techniques that makes cooking the food at home an altogether more impenetrable affair.
The answer, it seems, lies in an unlikely French institution in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury Square – at Le Cordon Bleu. Here, Tastes of Japan, offers a whistlestop guide in a six-hour long day course set in the prestigious culinary arts institute. It can be done as a one-day course or as part of the five-day Tastes of Asia, which covers Malaysia, India, China and Thailand too.
You know from the very moment you slide past the women huddling outside in chef whites that what Le Cordon Bleu does, it does exceedingly well. Master Chef Daniel directs the group to a room, giving us a chance to wear our complimentary branded aprons and tuck in our tea towels. From here on, we are referred to solely as chef, pure titillation for the students, a motley crew of food lovers and working chefs with a distinct international flavour.
And flavour there was plenty, starting with Dashi, the nuanced and subtle Japanese fish stock, referred to by the Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto as the “almighty Japanese ingredient”. This formed the basis of a Miso Soup with crumbled tofu and enokitake. Next, came little parcels of intricately folded prawn and pork Gyozas, the mythical 19 folds proving elusive to most trainee chefs in attendance. And lastly, in a befitting finale, there was the art of sushi, Maki to be precise, with symmetrical batons of tuna, salmon, avocado and cucumber sliced with the branded Wusthof’s at our stations.
Throughout the day Master Chef Daniel peppered his demonstrations with pearls of advice. Three ways to devein prawns anyone? Knife skills for Julienne vs. Brunoise? Even how to create a non-stick aluminium pan base using silicon paper.
It’s not gruelling, and doesn’t warrant a plus one to be a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience. One that is guaranteed to give you a reason to open your kitchen doors to the wealth of treasures Japanese food has to offer.
One day Tastes of Asia Japan course at £230 per person. Five day Tastes of Asia course at £660 per person. <a href="http://www blog link.cordonbleu.co.uk/”>www.cordonbleu.co.uk