Michelin Master Class
Chefs Christophe Gibert and Shintaro Miyazaki serve up lessons in award-winning technique with a cooking class at The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka.
On a recent November afternoon in Osaka, Japan, a group of smartly dressed women checked the sharpness of their pencils as they sipped champagne in the dining room of La Baie, the elegant French restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton. They awaited the start of a cooking class led by Michelin-starred chefs Christophe Gibert and Shintaro Miyazaki.
Part of the new Stellar Dining Series, which kicked off in Singapore and continued in Hong Kong and Beijing, the lunchtime event opened with a trio of snacks from La Baie’s Gibert — a delectable dome of bouillabaisse jelly and fennel cream nestled in a pie shell flavored with squid ink, alongside an airy beet meringue and a silky celery custard crowned with crab and apple.
Miyazaki, who helms Azure 45 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, demonstrated a specialty that he has spent 10 years perfecting: nodoguro black-throat sea perch from Hyogo Prefecture in a delicate consommé made from a giant Omi turnip from Shiga Prefecture.
“The turnip has elements of astringency, spiciness and sweetness,” he said, removing the skin from the cantaloupe-sized root. “We can extract an essence from it that is very clear and concentrated. To me, it’s like the quintessential consommé — a word that carries nuances of perfection and clarity.”
Miyazaki began his career as a pastry chef, and it shows in the precision of his technique. Guests scribbled furiously as he explained how to prepare kelp dashi by simmering it at 80 degrees Celsius (176 Fahrenheit) for an hour, before adding it to the turnip stock with gelatin to “boost the umami.” The fish should be steamed over a rolling boil for exactly 1½ minutes, and then finished in a toaster oven to crisp up the skin.
Gibert’s complex and decadent signature — black abalone cooked in its own juices and served with artichoke mash in a creamy emulsion of abalone liver — was the perfect counterpoint to the refined simplicity of Miyazaki’s dish. He used abalone from Nagasaki together with violet artichokes from his home region of Brittany to reflect his style of cooking, which pairs classical French technique with the best seasonal products from Japan and France.
“I don’t think that I can make these dishes at home,” whispered a woman who had traveled from nearby Hyogo Prefecture. Scooping up a mouthful of the tender shellfish and the rich emerald-hued sauce, she confessed, “I just came to eat this.”
Indeed, the experience was well worth the journey.