I bend down to retrieve a crumpled black cocktail dress from my bedroom floor, left unceremoniously in a heap at one o’clock in the morning after arriving home from dinner at Tetsuya Wakuda‘s iconic Sydney restaurant- so aptly named Tetsuya’s.
As I pick up my little black dress I inhale deeply hoping to pick up some residual aromas of last night’s ocean trout confit, twice cooked spatchcock, tender wagyu or tuna sashimi. Alas, only the sweet smell of Gucci Gold Parfum still lingers on its fabric.
My dream date with one of the best Chefs in world was an evening to remember, and I’m not just talking about the food!
We had been invited by the glorious people of Electrolux to attend an intimate masterclass with the world renowned chef, where he would be demonstrating a number of dishes that has made him one of the most popular chefs amongst the food faithful for over 20 years.
A humble and unassuming white Chef jacket clad Tetsuya enters the showroom and smiles shyly as we are individually introduced to the maestro.
I was humbled and honored to be introduced as a Chef and fellow cooking demonstrator to which Tetsuya promptly pulls me center stage with him to cook scrambled eggs.
Once I had floated down from Cloud 9… having just cooked an egg dish for one of the best chefs in the world, I was able to partake in a series of exceptional tasting plates, prepared before our very eyes by this cooking genius.
We sampled scrambled eggs with spanner crab and ricotta, an utterly delicious chicken tagine with perfectly cubed pieces of preserved lemon on a date and scallion couscous.
A stunningly simple boiled egg, cooked gently for 30 minutes until the egg was just set and then dropped into a ceramic cup and topped with a generous helping of Avruga caviar and finely dissected chives. So unspoilt and perfect was this dish, that I had to catch my breath at its sheer simplicity.
Tetsuya then skillfully plated for us an exquisite kingfish sashimi dish, topped with many layers of micro greens, julienne of chilli, garlic and ginger with a mirin and sesame dressing so evenly balanced and wonderfully executed.
Thanks to the safety and precision of induction cooking, Tetsuya was able to demonstrate for us how he can bring dashi stock to the boil in a paper filter sitting in a woven basket in preparation for a wonderful Shabu shabu of Wagyu beef.
Tetsyua delighted and amazed with his control and precision as dish after dish of delectable morsels were handed out to a grateful audience.
None more so than his signature dish of Confit of Ocean Trout that Tetsuya said was his “domestic version”.
Carefully ‘ticking over’ on the induction cooktop, he placed a pan full of aromatic herbs and spices topped with a slurry of olive oil. So gently was he heating this preparation that he was able to place his hand around the sides of the pan to demonstrate its delicate cooking nature.
Into the pan he carefully slid in slices of Petuna ocean trout which he then left to complete the slow cooking process that has made this dish his most popular and famous throughout the world.
One small bite is all it takes to be transported into a world of taste and texture sensations where chewing is not necessary as the fish melts deliciously like a block of dark chocolate on your tongue.
Its seductive yet comforting flavours intermingle on your palate with a wonderfully long silky finish. I try not to gobble my piece too quickly as I don’t wish this sensation to finish before I am ready.
This humble cooking magician, asks us if it tastes okay… I find myself unable to reply as I’m having an outer body experience…
My trip back down to earth was a quick one as Tetsuya rounded off the masterclass with a crispy curry spiced tempura prawn which was ever so light and juicy, made even more special by Tetsuya graciously accepting our requests to have photos taken with him for our scrapbooks and staff room walls.
Despite what has already been a memorable evening of food and fun with Tetsuya, our evening has only just began as we are whisked away in Limousines to dine further at Australia’s #1 restaurant and one of the Top 10 restaurants in the world ~ Tetsuya’s.
We are inspired and delighted with a degustation menu of 12 courses all expertly prepared by this master craftsmen who has made our night unforgettable.
Superbly matched with a selection of the finest wines and sake, our senses are delicately introduced course by course to an artist’s culinary canvas.
Terrine of Queensland spanner crab with an avocado soup, Sweet caramelised cannellini beans with mascarpone and beautifully marbled wagyu beef rolls with lime and wasabi. The air was perfumed with the aroma of understanding and respect for produce and flavors that Tetsuya so wonderfully captures in his thoughtfully created dishes.
A dessert course of lightly set Chai bavarois was slurped back with much gusto and the ‘bending of necks’ to get the last drop of nectar from its earthly confines, while I was tempted to lick my plate clean when confronted with a perfectly balanced chocolate chiboust with lemon curd and coffee marshmallow.
The Japanese have a word to describe what they have discovered to be the 5th element in taste- Umami which leads to an explanation of unexplained deliciousness, balance and savouriness. A taste sensation that when done right and done well creates a craving and longing in the back of ones throat that cries out to be quenched.
Tetsuya’s food is Umami, and the pleasure of sharing the evening with such a gentleman of the culinary world was an honor. Moreover, to have the opportunity to share a few giggles with the great man while he observed me cook and entertain the crowd- Magic.
どうもありがとう。 Dōmo arigatō