This book includes the contributions of many star chefs, including Takashi Tamura (of Tsukiji Tamura), Eiichi Takahashi (Hyotei), Kunio Tokuoka (Kyoto Kitcho) and Yoshihiro Murata (Kikunoi). Photos of their kaiseki cuisine make this a handsome coffee table book, and students of Japanese cuisine will be impressed with the depth of information on umami-rich ingredients like kombu, katsuobushi, niboshi, and shiitake, all of which are essential in making dashi. Even water around the world is ranked from soft to hard—a hot topic for kaiseki chefs who have traveled the globe.
Umami has been covered in many other books, and not always well, but this work captures the essence and explains it without missing any details. The tutorials on dashi may change the way you make this staple at home. The end of the book includes simple home recipes that are easy to incorporate into your repertoire.
Various contributors (Cross Media, 2009, 162pp, ¥4,120)
This review first appeared in Metropolis magazine: