BLOGWelcome to Kyoto
Thai Chef Sontaya Mark Jarron's favorite Japanese words are "diligent and patient".
In the fourth episode of international chefs in Kyoto, we feature Chef Sontaya who is very popular at Pakuchi, a Thai restaurant in Karasuma Marutamachi and introduce his carrier in Thailand and after coming to Japan, including the meeting with the owner couple of Pakuchi, which made him decide to work at the restaurant.I was just working hard when I was in Thailand.I was born and raised in a fishing port of Thailand. My father was a fisher and I had been helping his job ever since I can remember. I think that was until I was about 9 years old. I had even worked at a steel mill with my brother since I was 15 years old. I became a chef after I got married. My wife's brother was working at a hotel and he asked me to work at a restaurant in the hotel. I had worked as a chef at several restaurants and leant different cuisine such as Italian and Thai.However, I've never got a raise even when I worked hard as a chef in Thailand. On the other hand, I could get a better salary overseas. I thought that it is wise to be qualified to have a resident status abroad if I'm going to work as a chef. Therefore, I worked at a Thai restaurant for 10 years and I got a job at a Thai restaurant in Australia. During that time, I was asked to work in Japan by someone who I knew. So, I came to Japan. I decided to work in Japan as a migrant worker because I sought better working conditions rather than I wanted to go to Japan. In order to support my family and save money for opening my restaurant, working abroad is the best way even now.From a Thai restaurant in Sannomiya to Pakuchi in KyotoI first worked at a Thai restaurant in Sannomiya. One day, I heard from one of my colleagues who joined the restaurant earlier than me that a Thai restaurant in Kyoto was looking for a chef. Since the owner of the restaurant decided to close the restaurant and I was interested in working in Kyoto, I decided to apply for the job.When I visited Pakuchi, I felt that the restaurant's atmosphere was like an old town in Bangkok. There is a food stall in the restaurant and the restaurant uses ingredients from Thailand as much as possible. Mr. and Ms. Kikuoka, the owner couple, love Thailand and are very understanding of it. Miki, the owner's wife, is very good at Thai so I can communicate with her well. I was interested in the owner's keeping on trying new ideas too. He asks me for advice for everything. So, our relationship becomes closer and closer. 5 years has passed since I started working here in 2014. I felt that time flew so fast.Brief information about PakuchiPakuchi is a Thai restaurant opened in August, 2009. The restaurant is operated by Mr. Nobuyoshi and Ms. Miki Kikuoka, a couple who love traveling. When Miki studied in Bangkok, she was attracted by Thai cuisine. After returning to Japan, she worked at several places including a Thai restaurant in Osaka. She wanted to run a restaurant that is similar to a cozy restaurant in Thailand that offers delicious food for student-friendly prices, so the couple decided to open Pakuchi in Kyoto.There is a reason why Mr. and Ms. Kikuoka decided to open a restaurant.Miki said, "Since Japan is a wealthy country, Japanese people can freely travel around the world. However, there are many poor countries where people are hard to make a living. Although it might be presumptuous of us to say that, we want to support children in such poor countries." They thought that they wanted to earn money for building a school at poor villages in Asia where children can't get an education. They have built two elementary schools in villages in Laos for about 10 years since 2009. During that time, they opened two more Pakuchi in Sanjo and Shijo too. Their goal is to help poor countries rather than to expand their business. They said," We don't have any children. Therefore, we want to focus on supporting children in poor countries."What is like working at such a restaurant for me?Kyoto people are really kind to me. Just a moment ago, a student looked up Thai phrases on the smartphone and said to me "It was so delicious. I will come back soon!" in Thai.Of course, making money is important for me, but this is not the only reason why I have been working here for a long time. I like Kyoto more and more. Kyoto has both rivers and mountains nearby, as well as temples. I visit temples by bicycle when I'm off work. What has made me happiest here is that I could invite my family in Kyoto when I had a vacation for two weeks. We wore kimono, visited temples, and enjoyed Japanese food. My family was filled with joy. Although I live away from my family, I can see their faces through my smartphone. Therefore, I have never felt lonely.I make sure to offer authentic Thai taste at Pakuchi.What dishes do I make at the restaurant? Of course, as I am a Thai chef who was born and raised in Thailand, I make dishes with authentic Thai flavors. Since some ingredients and seasonings that I use here are different from those in my country, my dishes offer slightly different flavors from those in my country. However, I haven't changed their cooking methods at all.Please try Gapao rice that you can see in the photo. This is rice with stir-fried Thai basil (Gapao), and minced pork and chicken on top. Splitting a fried egg served on top and eating it together with this spicy rice makes the dish mild. This is one of Thai soul foods.I'm challenging new flavors too!There is another thing that makes me happy since I started working at the restaurant. That is that I learned about Vietnamese food. The restaurant decided to serve Vietnamese dishes other than Thai dishes. The owner who is very knowledgeable in Vietnamese food taught me how to cook classic Vietnamese dishes including Pho, Vietnamese-style soup with rice noodles, and Bun, Vietnamese rice noodle bowl with grilled pork. Since there are many differences between Thai and Vietnamese food such as ingredients and how to make broth, I learned a lot. I can use these knowledge and skills after I return to Thailand too.My dream is to open a restaurant in Thailand.I want to return to my country, Thailand and to open a restaurant together with my family someday. On the other hand, I am very comfortable and enjoy working here at the moment. I still have a lot of things to learn here too. Therefore, I want to stay Japan a little longer.My favorite Japanese words are "diligent and patient". When you think of patient, you may feel that I'm enduring something. That is not what I like about this word. I like these words because I learned these sprits after I came to Japan. If you keep something steadily and seriously, you can always master it in the end. Japanese people are all very serious and hard-workers. When seeing Mr. and Ms. Kikuoka working hard to help others, I started thinking that you cannot get anything accomplished unless you work hard to achieve it.It might be time to return to my country and to open a restaurant when I can truly understand the meaning of "patient"■ Thai Kitchen Pakuchi MarutamachiRolex Tamura 1F, 374 Masuyacho, Kawaramachi Marutamachi-dori Agaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto075-241-089211：30-14：30（L.O14：00）and 18：00-22：00（L.O21：30）on Mon-Fri and 17:00-22：00（L.O21：30）on Sat, Sun, and Public holiday*Reservations are available only for dinner. Closed irregularly
BLOGWelcome to Kyoto
Pastry Chef Paulo Duarte loves different nuances of "Shibaitaroka!"
In the third episode, we feature Pastry Chef Paulo Duarte who runs a Portuguese confectionary shop near the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and introduce his past and future including how the couple have closely been working together to operate the shop. I was fascinated by delicious Japanese castella.I came to know about Japanese castella because my wife Tomoko came to the confectionary shop where I worked. I guess it was about 30 years ago.She was just graduated from the university. She had a much stronger passion for Portuguese sweets than me. She came to Portugal alone to learn about the origin of castella that she encountered in Nagasaki. Can you believe that she came to Portugal by herself? I felt that she was a very courageous person. If I haven't met her, I might not come to Japan.Later, we were married. We were invited to an event in Nagasaki organized by Embassy of Portugal and AICEP. At the event, I encountered Japanese castella made by Shooken, a long-established castella shop. I was very impressed by its delicious taste. So, I decided to learn about how to make castella at Shooken for a while. Then, I returned to my country with an idea to make delicious Japanese castella in Portugal.Selling Japanese castella in PortugalTomoko and I opened our shop in a suburb of Lisbon, Portugal in 1996. The shop sold Portuguese sweets and Japanese castella.The recipe and flavor of Pão-de-ló, which is Portuguese castella, vary depending on the area. However, Pão-de-ló is regarded as a traditional confectionary and it is a must-item for baptisms and weddings everywhere. I don't know which Pão-de-ló came to Japan. Pão-de-ló is quite different from Japanese castella that you can get in Japan.That's why I wanted Portuguese people to know about castella that was handed down from Portugal to Japan and has been evolved in Japanese ways.We moved to our shop in Lisbon in 2003 and sold both Japanese and Portuguese castella. Our castella were loved by many customers.We came back to Japan and moved to Kyoto.One day, someone asked me "Are you interested in promoting Portuguese castella in Japan?".As Japan is the home country of Tomoko, I responded "If there's anything I can help with this matter" and accepted this offer.I thought that Kyoto was the best place to open our shop because Kyoto was Tomoko's birthplace and her mother lived there. However, it was difficult to find a property. During that time, I worked at a bakery and Tomoko looked for a property. Finally, we found this property with a connection, which was previously a storage for sake. Since the property used to be the storage, there was no utility connected here, including water, electricity, and gas. So, we had to start from scratch. However, as my shop in Lisbon was near the church, this location close to the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine made me feel like this is destiny. It was in 2014, five years ago from now.Bringing Portuguese taste to Japan As mentioned previously, Pão-de-ló, which is Portuguese castella, is so different from Japanese castella that it is hard to find something in common. For example, Japanese castella is baked in a wooden box. Although Pão-de-ló was definitely the origin of Japanese castella, I felt that Japanese castella was classified as a Japanese confectionary now. I thought that it was important to make Japanese people know about the difference between them first.On the other hand, Japanese ingredients are excellent in quality. Since I can get high-quality flour and eggs, I can reproduce the exactly same Portuguese taste here.I purchased furniture and utensils from Portugal as many as possible. I wanted my customers to enjoy sweets in an authentic Portuguese atmosphere.I tell my customers about the details of Pão-de-ló, the origin of Japanese castella, including how it looks like, how many types it has, and how to eat it. I believe that this is our mission.We always say "Obrigado (thank you)" every time when the customer leaves the shop. Our shop offers three types of Pão-de-ló.As mentioned previously, Pão-de-ló varies depending on the area in Portugal. Pão-de-ló made in the north is baked thoroughly. On the other hand, the further south you go, the softer it becomes like half-cooked. Its texture is similar to pudding and mousse. While the former well-baked one is often eaten with cheese, the latter soft one is eaten with a spoon. Don't you think that how well bean paste is cooked, or the hardness of noodles varies depending on the area in Japan too? Perhaps, they change depending on the climate and customs of the area.As our shop offers three types of Pão-de-ló, you can enjoy different flavor and texture of each Pão-de-ló. One is from Minho province that is soft and springy and is baked in a large clay mold. Another is from Beira Litoral province that is creamy and rich and is baked in a small clay mold. Another is from Extremadura that has a fizzy texture and is baked in a pot or a metal mold.This photo image is "Culture comparison experience plate" 700 yen (tax-included) that you can have at our shop. The plate includes three different Portuguese castella and Japanese castella. You can compare differences between them by having this plate.Our wish is to establish the base of Portuguese confectionary in Japan. I can say that our shop is the first base. I hope that Portuguese confectionary will become popular in Japan 50 or 100 years later.I hope to return to Portugal someday to promote Japanese castellaAnother wish is to go back to Portugal and to make a cooking school for teaching Japanese confectionary including castella. I hope to serve as a bridge between Japan and Portugal and promote exchanges between the two.I don't think that living in Kyoto is difficult at all.I actually think that Portuguese people are less kind to people from other areas than Kyoto people. However, people are willing to help those who are passionate about something or are working hard to achieve something, not only in Kyoto but also in other countries. Therefore, I haven't had a hard time in Kyoto.My life will be completed if I think I become successful. So, I think that no matter how old I get, I should keep challenging myself. Do you know the word "Shibaitaroka (I'll kick your ass)!"in the Kansas dialect?This word has several types of tones. For example, you can use it either in a friendly manner like a joke, or in a serious manner when you get angry. However, people always smile no matter how you use this word. Although the word includes strictness, it makes people smile. I got to know this subtle different meanings over communication after I came to Kyoto.If you can understand nuances like this, you can survive anywhere in the world!■ Castella do Paulo 898 Bakuro-cho, Onmaedori Imakoujiagaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto075-748-0505Opening hours: Shop 9:30-18:00 and Café 9:30-17:00Closed on Wednesdays and the third Thursday of each month
BLOGWelcome to Kyoto
Chef Fabio Palmieri says "Drinking wine helps you live to 100 years".
Kyoto provides a similar vibe to Florence, my home town. The No. 1 reason why I came to Japan was that my wife is Japanese. I met her when she studied in Florence and we got married. Then, we decided to move to Nagoya where she was born and raised. Since my family runs a restaurant, I have been working as a chef since I was 16 years old. Therefore, I was very confident about my job. I worked as a chef at several places such as Italian restaurants in a department store and in a hotel, and Pizzeria in Nagoya. I even worked at an Italian restaurant in Tokyo just for one year. I often visited Kyoto when I was off of work during the time when I lived in Nagoya. That was because Kyoto was very similar to Florence where I grew up, including landform as the both areas surrounded by mountains, four-season climate, a lot of sun and clear air. I also felt that people from Kyoto were quite similar to those from Florence. They are hardworking and are proud of their city and culture. Since both Florence and Kyoto are the old capital, perhaps we have so much in common. Selecting Kyoto as the location of my restaurant.In order to save money for opening my restaurant, I worked at the restaurants and my wife worked at a company. However, it took about 10 years to achieve that. There were several reasons that I selected Kyoto as the location of my restaurant. As I mentioned before, I love Kyoto, which was one of the reasons. Although there were several authentic Florentine restaurants in Tokyo, there were a quite few of them in Kyoto. This was another reason. As many foreigners including Europeans were living in Kyoto, I thought that they would surely come to my restaurant to pursue authentic taste. I felt more comfortable and relaxed in Kyoto than anywhere else.A narrow alley attracted me more than a big street. I was very lucky to find a property on Yanagikoji, a very nice alley in Kyoto. Although I looked for rental properties on the Internet and visited many real estate agents, it was very hard to find an ideal property for my restaurant at first. At such time, I came to know about Yanagikoji TAKA, a standing dining bar on the alley. Taka, the owner of this shop, had worked for 10 years at Nobu, Milan. I thought that he might give me a hint of finding a good property so I visited his shop. I fell in love with this alley at first sight. I got along with him straight away too. Therefore, I hoped to open my restaurant on this alley if I could. Unfortunately, no vacant rental property here was available at that time. I daily checked any vacancies available on the alley. One day I found a vacancy of this property and I immediately applied for renting it. When I was interviewed by the owner of the property, I convinced him of my strong passion towards opening a Florentine restaurant here and he allowed me to rent this property. That was really great!I want my customers to enjoy authentic Florentine flavors.Italian restaurants in other countries, not only the U.S.A and Europe but also Asia such as Indonesia, offers Italian flavors. However, I don't know why but only Italian restaurants in Japan arrange flavors that are suited to Japanese people and use many Japanese ingredients. A few Italian restaurants in Tokyo offer authentic flavors but none in Nagoya and Kyoto. In that sense, without any competitors, I thought that it was a good change to open my restaurant in Kyoto.Since its opening in November, 2017, I have been offering only Florentine dishes that I made. I think that my tomato sauce made with tomato and plenty of garlics especially tastes exactly the same as that made in Florence. The pasta dish "Pasta with peach and garlic tomato sauce" shown on the picture is made with thick, soft and sticky noodles coated with ample of tomato sauce. I'm sure that Japanese people will love the texture of my al dente pasta that is similar to udon noodles.Italian dishes in Japan are also so delicious that I can respect them. However, they are just Japanese-style Italian dishes. There are many excellent chefs who can make them better than me in Kyoto. I'd better make Florentine dishes that I am proud of. I want Kyoto people to know about their flavors. Use Italian ingredients as many as possible including oil and beef.Many Florentine dishes use meat, prosciutto, and salami. They are simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs. We try to bring out the best flavors of ingredients. In that sense, Florentine dishes may have similar features to Washoku. Many Florentine dishes are made with very simple ingredients. Therefore, if I make something wrong such as the proportion of ingredients, it will turn out to be a totally different dish. Therefore, ingredients are very important. This is why I try to use Italian seasonings and ingredients as many as I can. Although some of my customers are Italian, many of them are Japanese who used to live in Italy or who have visited Italy before. All of them were satisfied with authentic taste of my dishes, saying "These tasted exactly Florentine flavors!". Nothing will make me happier if I can bring a breath of Italian air to Japan, even just a little.The dish "Cooked beef red tripe with salsa verde sauce" shown on the picture is the best Florence's street food.Beef red tripe is carefully cleaned and prepared, and then cooked in stock that contains red chili pepper, garlic, and Italian parsley. The dish has a piquant flavor and tastes so delicious that you cannot help saying "Buono!".Italians are all in love with wine!Most Italians drink wine over meals, because wine goes very well with Italian dishes. In addition, wine can help rinse salt and fat of these dishes that are left on your tongue. There is a saying in Italy "Drinking wine helps you live to 100 years". Eating delicious food and drinking wine will prevent stress. As a result, everyone becomes happy.This saying was written on dinner mats of my restaurant. Please come to my restaurant to enjoy food and wine when you have a rough or tough time. You can easily forget about what is bothering you without doubt. People who encountered their first Florentine dish at my restaurant won't have any problems when they visit Florence, because they will certainly find dishes that will taste the same as mines. Home is where you make it! Wherever you live will be the same!When I opened my restaurant, I was nervous to a certain extent at first like "Do Kyoto people accept me?". However, I have never had unpleasant feelings even as one and half year have passed since the opening. People who come to my restaurant are all really kind and love Italian dishes.I am glad that my friends from Italy and Europe will come to Kyoto to visit my restaurant every time when they come to Japan. I believe that traditional culture that Kyoto has attract them too. Kyoto has not only its culture but also arts and music.What do I do on my day off? I listen to music and take a walk along the Kamo River. I often visit restaurants and shops to eat my favorite food too, such as grilled chicken skewers, Japanese-style fried chicken, and ramen noodles. Kyoto is a food paradise. Nothing would make me happier than to make my country's food and to offer them in such an attractive city! ■VINAINO Kyoto577-14 Nakano-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto+81-75-286-3180Opening hours: 12：00-15：30 and17：30-22：30LO（Fri, Sat, Sun, Public holiday: 12:00-22:30 LO）Closed on Tuesdays
BLOGWelcome to Kyoto
Diaries of an international chef's striving in Japan
Why do many international chefs come to Kyoto, a gastronomic city, to work as an apprentice to learn about Washoku or to provide their home cuisines in Kyoto and to pursue new food ideas? What attracts them to Kyoto? We will introduce Kyoto cuisine through the struggling and the successes of international chefs in Kyoto.n the first feature, we interviewed Chef Stephan Pantel and asked him about his French restaurant and his feelings towards Kyoto. After working at many famous restaurants including Philippe Aubron Gion, Courantd'herbes, and KEZAKO, he opened his restaurant RYORIYA Stephan Pantel at a 100-year-old traditional Japanese-style house in Kyoto in 2012.I deeply fell in love with Kyoto, an artisan city.I am often asked "Are people from Kyoto carping?" "Is it difficult to live in Kyoto?". However, I've never felt that before. In that sense, I've been blessed with the people and environment around me. I've never felt that I wanted to return to France either. Of course, going back to France from time to time makes me happy. But, I somehow feel more comfortable to be in Kyoto than in France. Nowadays, I consider Kyoto to be my home.What do I like about Kyoto? Although there are various things I like about Kyoto, the best is that people in Kyoto cherish artisans. There are a variety of artisans in Kyoto including chefs, toolmakers, vegetable farmers, and gardeners. They are all hard on themselves and pursue quality until they are satisfied with it. Such artisans inspire my dishes. The more I know about Kyoto, the better dishes I can make. I felt that Kyoto is the city where I can improve myself.Since I married a Japanese woman, I wanted to visit the country where she grew up.The reason why I came to Kyoto was that my wife was from the Kansai area. I met her in the one-star restaurant in Paris where I worked. She came to the restaurant to learn French cuisine. We married and had a child in Paris. Although I like Paris, I wanted to visit the country where she grew up. Luckily, I found a job in Kyoto and I was accepted as an opening staff member of Philippe Aubron Gion. It was very fortunate that I worked in Gion, which is regarded as the quintessence of Kyoto, from the start, because I could learn the history and traditions of Kyoto and temperament of its people every day. I love the cityscape of Kyoto and I even enjoy just walking around. In that regard, I feel that Kyoto is similar to Paris.Encountering ingredients originating in Kyoto opened the door to new-style French dishes.I came into full charge of KEZAKO. That allowed me to make my own dishes. Some customers criticized my dishes. Others taught me how to make them better. People from Kyoto are usually picky about ingredients and flavors of dishes. That's what I like about them. Every time I receive criticism, I got opportunities to learn about their refined taste and the best ingredient combinations.I used a wide range of food produced in Kyoto such as vegetables at KEZAKO. Customers were often surprised about my knowledge of Japanese food, saying "Although you are French, you know about Japanese food very well." However, it is nothing special that chefs have a good knowledge of local food. I proactively tried Japanese food that I had never seen or eaten before. I think what makes it difficult for me is to determine the character of each food and use it in French cuisine.For example, I created a dish that combined foie gras and narazuke (pickles seasoned in sake lees). It seems that people from Kyoto didn't expect this combination. I tried Tantakacho's narazuke when I first came to Kyoto and I thought "Narazuke might go well with foie gras". I decided to make a dish with narazuke and foie gras for Christmas dinner. I wrapped foie gras with narazuke and left it for ten days to mature it. I drizzled sour fruit sauce on it and that deepened its flavor.The fat of foie gras blended well with the sweet flavor of narazuke to make it a gentle but rich flavor. While foie gras got a flavor of sake, narazuke absorbed the rich flavor of the foie gras. This combination created a new intense umami compared to having them separately. The reviews of this dish were better than I expected. More and more customers visited the restaurant to try this dish after they knew it through word of mouth and magazine articles. I originally planned to offer this dish only during Christmas but it became one of my specialties when I realized its popularity.I found a fantastic traditional Japanese-style house when I decided to open my own restaurant.I decided to open my own restaurant when KEZAKO shut down in 2001. 11 years passed after I came to Kyoto. However, it was difficult to find a nice property. Since I like the relaxed atmosphere of Japanese-style houses, I wanted to open my restaurant at a traditional Japanese-style house if possible, but I couldn't find the one that I was looking for. One day, I gave it a try to visit a small real estate agency to ask for a rental property for my restaurant. The staff at the agency said that it might be impossible to find a property that I was looking for. Perhaps, I was not Japanese so he didn't want me to rent a property. Surprisingly, he called me later, saying "I found an owner who said he could rent you a property because you were the chef at KEZAKO". I felt that what the owner said made all my hard work worth it. That was the house where my restaurant is now.While I kept the Japanese atmosphere of the property such as the entrance gate and the garden, I added some international atmosphere. Thanks to my customers, 6 years has passed after its opening. Some customers come to my restaurant every month since I worked at KEZAKO.Kyoto offers opportunities to easily get fresh, delicious ingredient such as vegetables produced in Ohara and Kamigamo.I sometime visit farmers in Ohara and Kamigamo to harvest vegetables by myself. I could understand their hard work to make delicious vegetables when I worked at their fields. They elaborately work 365 days a year including winters and summers to make delicious vegetables. Since I know their hard work, I also work hard to enhance the deliciousness of vegetables in my cooking. There are so many things I have learned from food culture in Kyoto, such as miso, tofu, how to use broth, and meal structures. I was able to continue working in Kyoto because I wanted to surpass locals, or more precisely: be acknowledged by locals.This is served as a main dish at my restaurant during spring. In France, bone-in lambs are roasted without cutting. At my restaurant, I cut them into two pieces and cooked them. A lamb loin is gently roasted and a bone-in lamb rib is pickled in salt overnight and was slowly cooked for 36 hours to make a lamb rib confit. The bones of this very tender confit can easily be removed so that you can enjoy its taste more. Shitake mushrooms produced in Shizuhara are simmered in gravy together with Kyobancha (a type of green tea produced in Kyoto) purchased from Ippodo tea shop. The tea aroma will faintly spread in your mouth right after you take a bite of the mushroom. Kyoto food inspired me to create new dishes and the number of my new recipes has increased a lot.I want to continue to challenge myself in unchanged Kyoto.It is said that people from Kyoto are tough on those who are not from Kyoto. However, as I am a foreigner, I can say that they are not tough on me because I am an outsider. When artisans from Kyoto hit it off with me and we work together, they will cherish me even though I am not from Kyoto. The same applies to my customers. Regardless of nationality, many customers acknowledge me if I strive to offer delicious taste that others can't make. I keep on challenging myself to make the best dishes and to satisfy my customers with these dishes.Favorite word"Artisan spirit"■Ryoriya Stephan Pantel4-182, Marutacho, yanaginobanba, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto075-204-431112：00、18：00～Closed days: Tuesdays and Wednesdayshttp://stephanpantel.com/