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Culinary Mastery Through Simplicity

Theme music: Aether by Terra Ambient

Slow Food has come a very long ways I believe, and so has the acquisition of taste according to the modern palate. As people, we recognize order and how things flow on an aesthetic level, regardless of race, socio-economic background, and even education, but do we need to be educated in order to understand common sense...? I feel it's a natural component to our humanity, and so is taste. We do not need to attend the finest culinary colleges in the world to understand good taste, and at how to create and reproduce that taste. Simple is best. I was treated to a very delicious red beans & rice the other night, along with some fried chicken, greens, and corn bread.

I remember Chuck over at the Taproom last night telling me something about how good food comes from simple ingredients and from the heart, and that you didn't need fancy name brand rice and vegetables to produce exceptional dishes. Chuck's amazing ribs and chicken are the best in Japan. If you are ever in the Yokohama area then I highly recommend stopping by the Bashamichi Taproom. Chuck's approach to food is taking simple ingredients and adding magic to it. Sort of his own special touch which gives his food an amazing down home American taste, something you will find nowhere else in Japan. Sure, Japanese food is Japanese food and it is great in itself, but when it comes to authentic American style soul food, Chuck's red beans & rice, fried chicken, and corn bread cannot be matched. His greens were excellent, too!

After leaving the Taproom a distant memory came back to me of a famous TV talent in Japan who's name is Bobby Olugon, a Nigerian born Japan TV talent, who made a household name for himself here in Japan not only as a popular entertainer and a mixed martial artist, but also as a cook.

I remember watching this variety show one night and Bobby and this gay Japanese talent were guests. They were supposed to cook a fried rice dish to see which tasted better. The gay Japanese guy used all organic ingredients; the finest quality meat and natural products he could think of. It got a bit ridiculous actually, I mean, the guy used imported organic butter, salt, imported pork. Even the frypan had to be the most expensive thing out there. Bobby Olugon used all homegrown ingredients. In fact he made sure to use a cheap frypan, something you could easily pick up at a discount shop somewhere. It was amazing watching both of these guys go at it. Bobby with his simple dish consisting of just rice and pork, and a little seasoning. Some green onions. The gay Japanese guest used all of these exotic ingredients. I'm almost sure he himself couldn't even read nor understand what was on the label. The French could sell deer piss to guys like him, and they would drink it up just because it came from France and then claim to be a culinary genius from the same mouth. It's like that sometimes out here especially with the wine crowd.

When the timer finally finished both of these guys had to allow their dishes to be sampled by the audience. Many Japanese were taken aback at how unnatural the Japanese contestant's fried rice was, which had ingredients that shouldn't have even been added to this type of simple cuisine. Even the taste was unnatural. His dish was ruined and many were turned off from the very beginning when they were watching him put it all together. Bobby Olugon won hands down. His dish was exceptional, simple, and very natural. I relished in the humiliation of the Japanese contestant. I saw a tear well up in his eyes, the one with the mascara running down his cheeks, and said to myself, that's what you get for trying to outdo the concept of "simple is best." Mr. Olugon received a standing ovation from an all Japanese audience that night. I was moved. I think Bobby was moved.

In the end, there's nothing wrong with organic food since all food was grown that way before industrialization, which in turned created the need for mass production. "Organic" is just a fancy label that makes food appear exclusive when all it really means is food that's grown chemical free, and with a hefty price tag attached to it. I am not attaching the Japanese contestant for using organic food either, but more for trying to overdo a very simple dish with unnecessary ingredients. Like Chuck Morrow, Bobby Olugon created a beautiful mix of deliciousness out of simplicity, ordinary ingredients, and soul which is consistent with my blogs theme.

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