We hear that you have a menu in which you “cook time”?

At my new restaurant Dounan de’s Ocuda Spirits inside the facility Misogi no Sato Kikonai, which opened in conjunction with the Hokkaido Shinkansen, I came up with the idea to cook with time. Ingredients that have been procured from Kikonai and the southern part of Hokkaido are stacked on plates like a tower, and are cooked one by one at the table.

On the top dish, you’ll find shishamo.(smelt). It takes about seven minutes to cook both sides of a shishamo. As you wait for the shishamo to cook, you find sashimi in the next dish. It takes about three minutes to eat the sashimi. Then you find two thin-sliced scallops. You cook the scallop and dip it into a cold broccoli and anchovy sauce that comes in the next dish, enjoying the fresh spring aroma. Finally, you take the cooked shishamo and enjoy it with a nappa cabbage salad…that’s how it works. It’s been a hit, with a hundred people coming for lunch everyday in a small town of 4,500.

How unique. We’d love to try it.

A person who can create something that doesn’t already exist in the world is a genius. A genius can turn zero into one, and can materialize a concept on his or her own. A professional on the other hand, is someone who can achieve over 80% of something.

Ideas and proposals often move smoothly along for 80% of the way, everyone working together happily, but then they often come to a halt. When one “professional” is in the mix, he or she can take the project to completion.

I’m aiming to be both genius and professional. I’ve worked hard to maximize my imagination at all times and create dishes with great integrity. And I’ll keep working to do so.

There’s “heart” in everything a person creates. Plates, for example, have been created as an incarnation of the creator’s soul. The same with paper cups, airplanes, forks, knives, and Himeji Castle…everything was created out of necessity at that time.

Teacups have a wide mouth and are made with a shallow bottom so people can enjoy the delicate taste and aroma of tea. Coffee mugs for your morning coffee are sturdier and deeper, so drinkers can enjoy their hot coffee for much longer. Everything is an incarnation of the human heart. I take the time and effort to use my five senses to learn what my “heart” is telling me.

There are many chefs with specialties, and in my case, I compose menus based on tastes and aromas that transition with time, creating dishes with the fresh new ingredients that appear before me.

I travel around the country and the world, continuing to challenge myself to polish that skill. That continual pursuit has led to a clear and logical cooking theory that I believe is original.


To be continued in Volume 2 “Cooking and Space”…


Masayuki Okuda’s Shonai Italian Restaurant Al-ché-cciano 
Shonai Café & Dolce Il-ché-cciano
Yamagata Italian Restaurant Yamagata San-Dan-Delo
And others