Chef Hiroshi Isomura On Experiencing Japanese Cuisine Through Omakase
- Ranita Ray
Updated : November 24, 2022 14:11 IST
With four decades of an outstanding career as a culinary expert, Chef Hiroshi Isomura is a repository of knowledge about food. Proud of his Japanese roots, he wants the epicureans to experience the authentic essence of this cuisine, and he introduces Omakase
Chef Hiroshi Isomura has over 40 years of expertise as an internationally acclaimed culinary expert and 'Omakase' specialist. His areas of expertise include traditional and contemporary Japanese fusions. His cooking prowess lies in the art of integrating the highest quality seasonal ingredients for artistic flavour explosions, balanced with Japanese authenticity. It elevates the usual fine dining experience for sophisticated palates.
Chef Hiroshi has prepared a cuisine that pays homage to his original Japanese roots, showcasing the charm of his culinary mastery. Epicureans can experience this traditional Japanese Omakase at Pickwick, The Claridges, Delhi. Often when one dines out, one doesn't get to know who is cooking the food. But here it is different, as the diners can participate in meaningful interaction with Chef Hiroshi at the restaurant, appreciating the real essence of Omakase, i.e., "I leave everything up to you." Isn't it something unusual?
Yellow Tail Sashimi in Goma Sauce, Yakitori, Gindara, Tempura mix, Nigiri Sushi, and Dobin Mushi are a few of the highlights on the menu, all prepared with the freshest and premium ingredients. The menu and the experience appear exquisite. They give an insight into how the equation between food, the dining experience and the diners is transforming beyond imagination. And who can narrate it better than Chef Hiroshi Isomura? He explains why this experience is exceptional in itself and how it can create a better understanding of Japanese cuisine and culture.
Q. What precisely does the Japanese term Omakase mean?
The term Omakase means ‘I leave it up to you’, where the chef presents a series of plates, beginning with the lightest and proceeding to the heaviest dishes. Instead of ordering at a regular restaurant, Omakase lets the chef select and serve seasonal specialities.
Q. What introduced you to the concept of Omakase?
Omakase is generally served in high-end sushi restaurants in Japan. I had my first Omakase experience in New York at chef Masa’s restaurant. It was an incredible experience for me, and since then, it has been a dream of mine to have Omakase introduced in India.
Q. How receptive are people to the dining experience, where the chef prepares a meal for them, according to his/her understanding?
People are well-travelled and informed these days. There is a shift in their mindset to explore diverse cuisine cultures and experience new dining experiences. Many in India love sushi; therefore, introducing the concept of Omakase is an exciting experience.
Q.Tell us a little about your Japanese roots and how you incorporate that into your understanding of food?
When I am not working, I am either tucked away someplace reading a book or travelling. I have travelled to many places, and Japanese cuisine has always been one of my favourites. During my stint in New York at Indian Accent, I had many Japanese friends who exposed me to their cuisine culture, and I have been a fan ever since.
Chef Hiroshi at work
Q. The diverse Omakase menu features Amuse, which means ‘small bites'. Which is a must-try dish among these and why?
Assorted sushi, Image Source:Pickwick
Not every amuse is the same. Since it is ‘Omakase’, I would suggest you try all of them. Every single course in Omakase is a must-try. The options include Tuna Tarter, Ikura White Radish, Fried Sushi Roll with Cheese and Smoked Salmon Avocado, Temari Sushi, Egg Omelette, and Cucumber Salad.
Q. Ingredients play a significant role in preparing an authentic cuisine of a region. Are you sourcing them locally or from overseas? Any challenges in that regard?
All the must-have sauce, dry groceries, and seafood are sourced from Japan, but our salmon comes from Norway. I can proudly say the Claridges serves the freshest fish in Omakase. Vegetables used are obtained locally. However, post-Covid, items such as fresh sea urchins are almost impossible to serve here in India as the customs take a lot of time to clear the consignment. Other than that, the rest of the ingredients are the best in quality and freshest.
A spread of Japanese culinary delights, Image Source: The Claridges
Q. What would you suggest the guests try from the menu? Are there any vegetarian options as well?
Currently, our Omakase is all non-veg. However, our a-la-carte menu does have vegetarian options. But we will soon introduce a vegetarian Omakase option.
Q.Is any particular dish being served to the locals of Delhi for the first time?
There are two items on the menu which we are debuting to Delhi's food scene. One is Chicken neck skin, and the other one is Chicken neck meat or Yakitori.
Q. Is there any misnomer about Japanese cuisine that you wish to clear with Omakase?
One of the most wrong perceptions towards Japanese food is that soy sauce is served with sushi. In Japan, the use of soy sauce with sushi is not very common.