Who does not remember Inspector Zaza’s Ramen Excesses in Lupen III? Or the meatballs, the okonomiyakifrom the series Kiss Me Licia? The poles should never be crossed, but kept parallel; it is a question of education. These are some of the typical dishes and habits that Hirohiko Shoda, in the art Chief Hiropresent in Hiro cartoon food, a cookbook of dishes inspired by the most popular Japanese manga series; an opportunity to approach Japanese cuisine also through habits and bon ton.
The historic chef of Calande, television personality for Gambero Rosso and ambassador of Japanese cuisine in Italy, tomorrow September 10 at 8:30 p.m. will be in Castelnuovo del Garda to present the latest book as part of El Moro nel Piatto and Sorsiutore Off Moderated by Giorgia Preti.
The meeting also includes a wine tasting of Cantina Poggio delle Grazie and products from the Il Pescatore farm. The event is a FREE ENTRANCEby reservation, will take place at dark theater (Via S. Martino, 4); it is organized by the Aida Foundation in collaboration with the Municipality of Castelnuovo del Garda.
For the fans, to 7:30 p.m. in the foyer of the theater, it is possible to take part in a guided tasting of grappas from the Scaramellini distillery with AIS Veneto sommeliers (at a price of 12 euros).
Chef Hiro’s interview
Own Chief Hiro he told us about the event and his iconic journey in the world of Italian and Japanese cuisine.
Chef, how was the passion for Italian cuisine born, which then became a fundamental part of your job for many years?
Since my studies at the Academy, in Japan, I have always been fascinated by the culture and beauty of the Mediterranean, with its exclusive products, tastes and fragrances unique in the world. I have studied in depth all the typical Italian excellences, from the most famous to the most local and less known, and with great respect I have always tried to enhance them in my dishes trying to preserve their essence and their authenticity. I consider myself lucky to have studied the culinary arts in Japan because all the cuisines of the world are taught in class as well as the national cuisine, we learn the products and techniques, and we train in a broad and complete way, in order to become competent leaders and prepare. I chose to specialize in Italian cuisine, and from there my career in Italian haute cuisine began, first in Japan and then in Italy.
What are the main differences and similarities between Italian and Japanese cuisine?
I always say that the differences in all the cuisines of the world are in the type of ingredients, typical of this place, of this climate, of this land, but fundamentally the basic cooking techniques (baking, frying, grilling) and certain aspects related to user-friendliness, they are found to be identical or very similar in many parts of the world. In particular, in Italian and Japanese culture, the pleasure of sharing the table, respect for traditions, family rituals, the act of cooking as a gesture of love and welcome are common, aspects that must be preserved for not lose them in the future.
Which Italian and Japanese ingredient couldn’t you give up?
Extra virgin olive oil and shoyu, which is the correct name for soy sauce. In both cases, it is necessary to avoid industrial productions and to favor products of excellent quality, different and specific according to the recipe to be made.
You had the opportunity to work for many years with Michelin-starred chef Massimiliano Alajmo. How does it feel to walk in and rub shoulders with star cuisine?
Before arriving in Italy, I already had a long experience in haute cuisine in Japan where I was the chef of many clubs and where discipline and study are at the highest level. The transfer to Italy was therefore perhaps more difficult initially on a relational level than on a professional level. Working in starred restaurants for many years is not just a work journey, it is above all a life journey, it influences every aspect of your daily life, it must necessarily be a conscious choice matured over time with diligence, rigor and respect, taking into account both great sacrifices and great satisfactions.
What can we expect from tomorrow’s event in Verona?
Well, I surely always like to create a friendly atmosphere, I will definitely talk about my latest editorial projects (“Washoku. The Art of Japanese Food”, published by Giunti and “Hiro Cartoon Food”, published by Mondadori), which I must say have been very successful and aroused a lot of interest from readers who always follow me with great affection even on my social profiles.
What are your future plans?
In this year 2022, I have made some collaborations in the field of cinema, a few days ago the promotional video for Brad Pitt’s new film, “Bullet Train”, an international success, was released, and in the fall the film by director Francesco Giuffrè (son of the famous actor Carlo Giuffrè) in which I played a small role as an actor. The plot of the film is very delicate and poetic, it will surely appeal to young and old alike.
And then, I will continue my activities of development and dissemination of authentic Japanese cuisine and culture as a teacher in various Italian academies and official ambassador of Japanese cuisine in Italy. It’s definitely a new book that I’m already working on and that I’ll tell you about very soon.