Chef Takagi Kazuo, with a culmination of three Michelin stars to his name and two restaurants in Ashiya, Japan, recently visited the Sharq Village & Spa hotel in Doha. Asked what he is most passionate about in his cuisine, the chef pointed to the important elements comprising a soup.
‘My personal signature dish is soup in general. For Japanese chefs, soup has a special meaning. It takes a lot of technique to make a good soup and is one of the most difficult things to make well. It is important that the soup is of top quality, as you can judge an entire restaurant on the quality of its soup.
‘My personal soup styles are very classic. To make a classic soup, you need these four essential elements:
1) A type of fish or something with protein.
2) Something green – usually vegetables.
3) Something to add taste (for example, radish could go well with fish). This shouldn’t be the green vegetable. It could be yuba, which is like tofu or perhaps mushrooms.
4) Something to add a pleasant aroma, such as yuzu (a type of citrus fruit), or leaves.
‘It is necessary to put these four elements together to fuse into one to make a good soup. I change the ingredients and cooking style every time I make a new soup but the concept is always the same.
‘Recently, younger chefs have not been making these kinds of soups as Japanese cuisine has become more stylish and for some reason the chefs cannot bear the strict rules and study on this.
‘Although Japanese cuisine is changing, I want to keep something authentic and something classic so that the next generation can learn the old style but still incorporate their own technique and individuality.’