Friday, March 31, 2006

Kaiseki Chronicles #2

March 30th (Thu) The official opening day of the kaiseki place.

I wonder if this is the same in other countries, but anyway in Japan, when a new shop/restaurant opens, this kind of huge bouquets(?) are sent from the owners’ friends and business partners, etc.

I’ll post more about the day 1 soon. :)
OK. It’s been 2 weeks already. And I don’t remember exactly what I did and how it was like on the day 1 any more ;P Sorry.

Anyway, we -- all kitchen staff, the head chef, waitresses and the owner – were all a little nervous on the first day. The kitchen looked a little different from before with all those new (more expensive) cooking/eating utensils. The new kitchen staff (one young guy and one elder man) were obviously having a hard time; the kitchen is small with the sinks and dishwasher at rather strange locations, and there is not enough counter space… The head chef looked so busy cooking and at the same time having to give instructions to the waitresses which dishes have to go to which tables.

Obviously, the waitresses were having the hardest time. I think most – or could be all – of them did not know the correct order of serving each dish of kaiseki course meal in the past. I heard them apologizing to the head chef many times for some things they didn’t do properly.

On the other hand, to tell you the truth, I was the only one who was having an easier time than before. When working at the izakaya, I had to cook some easy dishes and/or prepare plates with some sides in addition to all the dishwashing work. Now, since kaiseki is such a sophisticated meal, I am of course not allowed to cook anything. I can just keep washing. And although we use more cups/bowls/plates for the traditional course meal, they’ll come back in a certain order, so it’s quite predictable, which really makes things easier for me. AND NO MORE SCRUBBING HEAVY AND DIRTY JINGISUKAN PLATES!  So other than the inconvenience I felt from not having enough counter space, I was quite happy about the change in my work environment.

Unfortunately there is not going to be a chance for me to learn how to cook kaiseki dishes. Almost everything seems to be prepared in the daytime before I come to work in the evening, so I will never see them actually cutting and seasoning foods. But maybe I can learn a lot about how they arrange foods on plates and in bowls --- that is something I can see a lot while I work there. So I’m very much looking forward to new discoveries. :)



Anonymous said...

It's the same practice over here in Malaysia, Obachan.

Anonymous said...

Yup.. same in Singapore.. and Canada.. too..!

Anonymous said...

it's a major event in da Islands (Hawaii).

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan,

It's a pretty common practice amongst the Chinese in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore to signify the opening ceremony of a new company. Sometimes, there will be lion dances to bring prosperity to the new company too. :-)


Karen Baking Soda said...

Same here in Holland too, but not as elaborate as these are I'm afraid (would that be the proverbial Dutch thriftiness? I hope not ;-))

obachan said...

Hi skyjuice7, mama bok, ronw, Xin and baking soda!
Thanks for your comments. :D
Sorry it got me so long to respond to you guys and again I’m not responding to you individually, but please forgive me. It has been so hectic last week and weekend. Anyway, It is so nice of you guys to let me know about the customs in your country. I never thought that you had similar customs over there. Xin, lion dances sounds interesting! :D

Anonymous said...

I love your site! I just came back from my first trip to Japan and many thing I wondered about I've found answers here. I was really curious why many restaurants and stores seemed like they were florists shops!

I won't get to eat all the great things that we can't get here in the States, so I'll live vicariously through you.