Sunday 31 January 2016
Hideaki Matsuo is a master of ‘ryotei’, an exclusive, ultrapremium style of Japanese haute cuisine. He took an unusual route to the professional kitchen, first picking up a degree in theoretical physics from Kansai University before training for three years with acclaimed chef Hidetaro Nakamura at Shofukuro restaurant in Shiga. In 1993 he took over the kitchens of Kashiwaya, the family business set up by his father in 1977.
In 2009, he was awarded two Michelin stars with a third following just one year later. You’ll find Kashiwaya on a quiet residential area in a suburb in the hills of northern Osaka. Ascend a flight of steps from the street, cross the stone path through the moss garden and enter through a sliding door. From there, you’re escorted to your private dining room that’s sparsely decorated in a contemporary ‘sukiya’ Japanese tea ceremony style with sliding doors, paper screens, tatami mats, low level table and floor level chairs.
Matsuo’s seasonally driven, and monthly changing eight-course ‘kaiseki’ (formal, multicourse) menus are inspired by the memory of his first tea ceremony. They are, he says, his attempt to express the ‘Japanese art of living’ in re-worked versions of classic dishes. Served in a succession of beautifully decorated chinaware, lacquered bowls and bamboo boxes, dishes such as grilled tile fish marinated in salted shrimp, puffer roe boiled in sake with turnip soup and whole fried river fish with gingko nuts, spinach and tamago (a type of Japanese omelette) combine colour, flavour, taste and texture in a highly sophisticated way. The meal will also include elements more familiar to western palates such as scallop, snapper and cuttlefish, sashimi and prawn and conger eel sushi.
A member of Relais & Chateau since 2011, Matsuo is also a member of the board of directors at All Japan Food Association that promotes Japanese cuisine. In 2013, he won the bronze medal at the 4th Culinary Masters Awards held by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and opened Kashiwaya, Hong Kong, in November 2015.
Hideaki Matsuo's Obsession 16 Menu:
BRINE-BOILED CLAMS, MIZUNA (JAPANESE VEGETABLE) CLAM MILK, ANGKOR PEPPER
Yamanshi, Koshu, Grace Kayagatake, Japan 2014
SEAWEED WITH CUCUMBER, KARASUMI, BOILED SHRIMP, FUKI NO TO (JAPANESE VEGETABLE) FRIED CRAB MEAT WITH YUBA SOFT EGG MURSAME, DAITOKUJI NATTO
Woodcutter's Semillon, Torbreck, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2012
SOFT BOILED ISEEBI LOBSTER WITH SOUP KABURA RADDISH, SAVOY CABBAGE, SHIITAKE MUSHROOM, YUZU
saint-Péray, domaine du tunnel, Rhone Valley, France, 2010
ROASTED DUCK, STEAMED CARROT, BAKED WHITE ONION MISO SOURCE, SANSHO PEPPER PASTE
Pinot Noir, Au Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley, California, USA, 2013
SEASONAL FRUITS, MILK PASTE AND HONEY JELLY
Sake Ninki Ichi, Sparkling J Gingjo, Japan, NV