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Restaurant in town. Japan,Osaka

Hideaki Matsuo

Kashiwaya Osaka 565-0851

‘How does she do it?’ This is the question that I asked myself time and time again as I watched my mother preparing dishes which were aesthetically pleasing, extremely tasty and also comforting. That is when my interest in cooking was born. One special event turned this interest into a passion. My first tea ceremony. Or how to express, in a single place and at a single moment in time, the entire Japanese art of living. I wanted my cuisine to produce the same sense of wholeness, this same satisfaction.

After three years as an apprentice with my mentor, Hidetaro Nakamura, I joined the Kashiwaya, our family restaurant in Osaka. Since 1992, I have run its kitchens and I too have constantly striven to serve that Japanese art of living. That explains the sukiya style of the décor of the dining room which is traditionally the venue for the tea ceremony; its wealth of detail - sliding doors, paper partitions, tatami mats -; and an eight-course menu using all our skills to re-work the classical dishes of the land of the rising Sun.’

What was your most moving culinary experience?
The dishes my mother made. She was a visionary. A model to follow.

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
More than an incident, I'll tell you about an event. It was a time when a man with incurable cancer came to the Kashiwaya . He wanted to taste my cuisine before he died. Never before had I paid so much attention to every last detail. Never before had I received a guest who was as attentive as I had been. This experience taught me a great deal.

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Cook with enthusiasm and try to communicate this feeling to your guests.