Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My sister and I went to a masterclass with Tetsuya yesterday. He demonstrated 4 dishes for a room full of people:
  • Bonito Salad
  • Lobster & Olive Oil Mousse
  • Seared Tuna with Apple and Olive
  • Warm salad of Kingfish
Tetsuya on lobsters

I learned lots of great stuff, some of which applies to the fancy pants food that Tetsuya cooks, like how to kill and prepare lobsters, and some of which is pretty mundane - like the best way to store fish. While I completely accept that brain death with a sharp knife is almost certainly the most humane to kill a lobster, I'm probably too much of a wuss to do it myself - way too worried that I'd do it wrong and fail utterly in the "humane" department.

On the other hand, wrapping fish in paper towel and then glad wrap to store in the fridge I can manage! White sesame oil to cook it in I can probably pull off too. Lots of handy ideas to remember.

The last dish, the warm salad of kingfish was a real standout.

Warm kingfish salad

It was built on the plate, and then smoking grapeseed oil was poured over the top. The smell was utterly amazing.

Sadly we didn't get to try the lobster mousse, but Tetsuya continued to cook after the presentation to provide a few nibbles for us all.

Tetsuya in action

This is Tetsuya cooking the Tartare of Tuna with Goat's Cheese, which I've actually made before!

He's such a likable person too - I'd love to have him at my dinner party, as well as cooking it. 

I'm only sorry that the food he chose to demonstrate was so very Japanese - his restaurant is more of a fusion style which would have suited my sister far better - it was a gift to her and I fear it was a bit of a dud.

Also, this thing wasn't cheap - over $100 per ticket and it felt like a school production. Tetsuya's masterclass was the last of six, and still the audio-visual set up failed in almost every possible way. The TVs to provide a view for everyone were too low to begin with and needed to be boosted up with the camera gear boxes and the second TV didn't work for the first 15 minutes. Tetsuya's microphone didn't work at all, so the host kept sticking a microphone in front of him. He's well known for being softly spoken, and English isn't his first language, so it was regularly hard to hear and understand him.

This is the second year that Tony Bilson has run Cuisine Now in the Radisson Hotel, and I think there needs to be more polish if they want to charge a lot of money. If it was as polished as it could be, it would be absolutely worth the money, and a fabulous experience. As it was, I loved it, but was just a bit put off by the lack of professionalism.

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