Few countries in the world are charmed with the gastronomical made in Italy like Japan. In fact, if we enter the quality restaurants of Italy it isn’t rare to find Japanese personnel working in the dining room, and more often in the kitchen (let’s think of Hide Matzumoto, Davide Oldani’s right hand at the D’O in Cornaredo or Yoji Tokuyoshi at Osteria Francescana) or even in the cellar (Mototsugu Hayashi at Pescatore). They are professionals who often, after years of very hard work, come back home to integrate the acquired know-how with the centuries-old tradition of a country that recently has boosted the highest density of Michelin stars in the planet.
Tatsuya Iwasaki too, 31, one day will make his U-turn towards the Far East. In the meanwhile, for 7 years he has been traveling around Italy driven by the Sabatini family, restaurateurs in Tokyo for decades. To start with, in Sicily he tests the fires of the elegant Bye Bye Blues in Palermo (one Michelin star in 2011). Then, he goes to the opposite side of the island, to take care of entrées and first courses at the Madia in Licata, a casket in the Agrigento region made more precious by the great creativity of Pino Cuttaia. «There, I was 100% chef», Tatsuya explains. This percentage doesn’t drastically decrease afterwards, but after attending a course at the Ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona, driven by the didactics and charisma of Gianluca Fusto, he understands that he has to make up his mind. And pastry-making becomes his reign.
For a bit more than 4 years, besides Michela, careful director of the dining room and Emanuele Scarello, chef, he has been representing the sweet column of the Amici di Godia, temple just outside Udine where he created his basic saying: amaze but with taste rather than with technique, a command strengthened by a recent period spent at the court of king Andoni, at the Mugaritz in Errenteria, Basque provinces.
Today Tatsuya, just voted best pastry chef by Identità Golose’s Guidebook 2011, is a barometer changing when seasons and products change, lingers over temperatures and consistencies, loiters on the proteic alchemies of milk, defines the new melting points of sugar, tones down soft and crunchy, introduces salt and chocolate into new joyful tasty plays. And doesn’t put more than 3 or 4 ingredients in the dish, as his Japanese chromosome dictates, which sometimes suggests him also to come back to the products of his tradition.
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Chef Emanuele Scarello and pastry chef Gianluca Fusto last Monday morning in Godia, Udine, on the doorstep of the former’s restaurant Agli Amici. They were trying out the menu they will cook at Ratanà, in Milan, on Monday December 3rd. 100 euros per person, for info and bookings call 800.825144