How Chef David Schlosser’s Michelin-starred Omakase Tackles the Moray Eel — Omakase

How Chef David Schlosser’s Michelin-starred Omakase Tackles the Moray Eel — Omakase


– Shibumi means creative restraint. If there’s no restraint, then
we start getting so creative. It means our insecurity comes out. The master doesn’t get creative. The master just does. Welcome, good evening. Kappo cuisine, it means
cooking and cutting in front of the guests. The other thing that kappo has to have is basically the forms of kaiseki cuisine, in which you have something raw, steamed, boiled, fried, and grilled. I was drawn to kappo ryori because I realized that
kaiseki was really daunting, just for myself, period. I was told a very great statistic. 90% of Japanese restaurants in the United States
have sushi on the menu. Also, 90% of Japanese restaurants in Japan do not have sushi on the menu. What does that mean? Well, we don’t serve sushi here. And here we have the wild moray eel. They’re coming from Oita in Kyushu. We receive moray eel about once a year. Moray eel is quite the gangster of fish it which it is in the
top of the food chain, which most fish won’t even go near it. Some of the varieties are quite poisonous. They are very vicious, very muscular, very, very fast, and quite camouflaged. The moray eel is, they’re beasts, but the flesh is really beautiful. What also makes the moray so special is that it’s extremely fatty. It has this really thick layer of fat between the meat and the skin. Now if you see how thick
that is, that is fat. This is really beautiful. Basically all eels are one of the most difficult things to filet,
the moray being a little, even more difficult because of the skin. The skin is so thick, and
once you penetrate that you got to go through the fat. And once you go through the fat, then you get into the meat. So we leave the skin on
here because it’s so fatty. It’s really nice. So this is how we’re
gonna serve it tonight. You skewer and you grill beforehand, okay? Once it gets cooked, we flip it over, and we create what’s called kobashi, it means roasty and toasty. So it gives that flavor
once you simmer it. If you take a fish and you just boil it, it’s not gonna be toasty, right? So you grill and then boil
it, kobashi ni narimasu. Traditional nitsuke, no dashi, okay? It’s three parts sake,
one soy sauce, one sugar. The most pivotal experience
I had after culinary school was stepping foot into a
three Michelin star restaurant by the name of George Blanc. That was just outside of
Lyon, 26 chefs in the kitchen. Another very pivotal moment was the day I stepped foot into Ginza Sushi-ko,
owned by Masa Takayama. I was the first white
guy to work for Masa. Wow, did he give me a whirlwind of what a Japanese kitchen is. And that’s after working for multiple three Michelin star restaurants in France. I didn’t know what was coming. Masa is a dazzling genius in the kitchen. So it was a great honor. Sea cucumber is a great delicacy found on the bottom of the ocean. Has extremely high umami content. It has a beautiful texture, and is definitely one of my favorites. The texture is probably 50% important of the dish as the taste. In the Western world,
it’s probably about 90/10. Chinese, Japanese, probably 50/50. They really enjoy the texture. If you look at abalone, sea cucumber, these are textural wonders, in which we’re just not
used to in the West. So the sea cucumber initially
is very globuly and soft. It has zero texture to it at all. Once you start cleaning it, it starts tensing up, it gets very firm. It’s tensing up right now. Its defense mechanism. So after we open it up,
there’s the beak here which is the only part that gets removed. So this is the beak right here. It’s the opening of the sea cucumber. Pretty nice yield. This is all edible. Just that. Sea cucumber has a lot of umami. If you cook it delicately
in sake and kombu, both high umami content, and then you take it out, cut it, you simmer it with a little bit of dashi, there’s a little bit of
chew, oceanic flavor, melting in the mouth and
it’s just really nice. So we have here the
large abalone from Chiba which is just east of Tokyo. How much are they? For both of ’em? – [Sous Chef] $129. – We will never buy these again. Abalone is very rare in Japan, hence extreme price points, but the texture is unbelievable. So the abalone has two sides. It has the deep side, and
the skinny side on the top. You actually come from the top side down. That is how you release it, from up here. Ride the shell down, very careful you don’t cut the liver. Nice and clean. There it is. So what you’re aiming for
is no meat of any kind on the shell and this is, as you know, mother of pearl. There’s three main parts to the abalone. You have here, the liver and then you have the beard, and then you have the abalone itself. This is how we remove it. Very carefully, come from here. Let’s get this beard. Now on the liver side, this gets removed. So this is the abalone liver,
very exotic, quite delicious. So the abalone liver,
it’s a very rich flavor and it has that moss green, probably because it eats so much kombu. At George Blanc I had 24 chefs above me and you had to work your way up before you reached another level. At Masa there was only three chefs so each person was extremely
pivotal in the kitchen. When I was in these French kitchens, of course I was the American and yes, the French do make fun of us in many ways, especially culinary-wise. So I had to kind of
really put my head down and bust my ass. And then in Japanese cuisine, it was probably even more extreme because I am the white guy, you know, I don’t speak the language,
and I’m just, I’m not Asian and all that stuff. It’s been 90 minutes steaming. Come look. You can see, if you wrap
the plastic naturally, the suction creates a natural sous vide. This retains the flavor. It’s just packed in the
concentrated liquid of the abalone the sake and the kombu flavors. Yawata maki is a very classic
dish from outside of Kyoto in which the burdock root is wrapped in unagi and then grilled and served with a tare. One of my favorite
dishes, very heartwarming and just a beautiful combination. The burdock smells like sweet soil. Just by scrubbing it, I get
this amazing aroma coming out. The eel is a long sea food, burdock is a long root vegetable. One of the main differences
of the Japanese kitchen is the actual knife. Now, the knife is holy in
Japan, where in France, the knife is important
but it was not even close to the importance. The knife is paramount. And you have this gorgeous texture. Whoever came up this this, it’s such a beautiful combination, really. We’re gonna grill it right now. Sushi? Come on! Way more interesting if you ask me. Chinmi is defined as ‘rare taste’. Yeah, it’s fermentation, each chinmi is kind of
treated differently. Regionally, all over Japan,
there are different delicacies that is performed there. Most chinmi could be started by using salt and by pulling out
moisture at the same time. I thought chinmi was important
to include in the menu because it was a really
important part of the culture and something that’s not really found here or even in Japan. If you look at one of the
oldest chinmi called narezushi which is a lacto-fermented
fish in rice and salt and cured for many
years, that was a chinmi. One of the things we’re
doing here is karasumi which is the silver mullet
that’s cured in salt and lightly smoked in cherry wood. And that is cured for nine months. This is called tofuyo. What tofuyo is is a tofu
that we make fresh here and then we dry it out
a little bit, in chunks. After it’s dried out in these chunks then we mix it with beni koji, which is a red koji,
and awamori, and salt. It takes us about four months
to age and cure this one. So there’s a lot going on in here. We’re keeping track on the times and the fermentation times of
all these different products. As there’s times where they really peak and then they start going down. So this is the oldest
thing I have in here. This is a 12-year ginger. This was made in Japan,
when I used to live there and then I brought it back on the plane. It’s been in my fridge. This is all just Japan. History of Japan. The importance of having
somebody like Masa early on does a couple things to you. It sets the standard for what’s to come after you were to leave somebody like him. It teaches you passion, heart. That’s what I try to
teach my guys every day. This is a Japanese abalone,
it’s steamed in sake with a liver sauce. Having a good teacher is
pretty much everything because you really are a
subject of your environment. There’s a reason why there’s
thousands of sushi chefs and Masa’s at a certain high level, because he just has more passion. He has more focus. He is just more determined, period. This is the yawata maki, it’s unagi wrapped in burdock
root with a sancho tare. Cooking’s created a
personality in that I could be a little more detail-oriented
than some of my friends or wife might want me to be. And having just extreme passion because of these masters
that I’ve worked with. Here we have the moray
eel which was grilled and simmered nitsuke-style
with fresh wasabi. It is important to be a mindful person because most people aren’t. And people notice that. We have the Santa Barbara
sea cucumber braised in sake. I think I would want my legacy to be a place that just serves honest, true Japanese cuisine, and that’s it.

46 thoughts on “How Chef David Schlosser’s Michelin-starred Omakase Tackles the Moray Eel — Omakase

  1. To say that 90% of Japanese Restaurants in Japan don't serve sushi… could have something to do with the fact that almost all of the restaurants in Japan are of course going to be Japanese restaurants?! and sushi is widely available, and there are many restaurants that exclusively cater to that.

  2. geez, listening to this guy talk sucks. That 90% statistic means nothing, considering restaurants in Japan aren't serving mainly sea food where as in somewhere like North America sushi is a big part of the cuisine because of its origin. But by all means if you think you're going to get a genuinely authentic Japanese experience, give your money to this white weeb.

  3. what is his favorite this actually?

    i’m quite confused Hahahaha but if its me tho all of them would be my davorite also Haha

  4. This was so cool. Really would love to try all of this traditional japanese food. That unagi rolled around the root thing really caught my eye

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