Late last year 2013, UNESCO recognized the social practices associated with Japanese cuisine (washoku) as worthy of inclusion on its list of the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.’ After French and Mexican cuisine, washoku is the only other of the culinary arts so honored by UNESCO. In Tokyo, one of the city’s newest and most able celebrants of washoku is Wadakura at the Palace Hotel Tokyo.
The restaurant’s executive chef, Mr. Keiji Miyabe, is an articulate spokesman for washoku, and puts his perspective to practice at Wadakura’s tempura bar and teppanyaki grill. (Wadakura’s sushi bar, Sushi Kanesaka, is managed by the Michelin-star chef, Shinji Kanesaka.) We recently bounced a number of questions off Chef Miyabe and it very well may be his thoughts on washoku and its inextricable link to the cultural identity of the Japanese, on the unique qualities of kaiseki, tempura and teppanyaki, and other musings.