It was absolutely amazing for me getting the opportunity of taking part in the Gelinaz Shuffle. I was cooking at Lido 84 in Italy and it was a completely new world for me – everything from the culture and history of the area to the mindsets of the local people were new worlds to explore. I didn’t know much about Lido 84 and I discovered that the relation between the restaurant and its guests is quite different from the relation at my restaurant. It was a really fascinating experience … Moreover, there were so many ingredients that I saw for the first time in my life! A big thanks to Gelinaz for this lovely experience!
Now, after the event, when looking back, I need to say that I am really happy about this opportunity which allowed me to discover that with all the diversity there are also many things that unite us.
One of the dishes I created at Lido 84 was the LidoDen salad. The Den salad is one of my restaurant’s specialities and I was really looking forward to creating a remake of it with the local ingredients in Italy. I wanted to show to our guests that Lido 84 as well as Den work in a close relation with the producers. I mixed the Lido 84’s speciality – cacio e pepe – with Den’s speciality by using vegetables instead of pasta. At the bottom of the salad was the smell of the warm soil, so the guests could feel the freshness of the vegetables. Many Lido 84’s regular guests said that it was a lovely idea to taste the speciality which captured the spirit of both restaurants. I don’t speak Italian or English, so it was a great challenge for me to work with the Lido 84 team and yet I was able to introduce my own restaurant philosophy – fun dining as opposed to fine dining. I hope all the guests were happy with the experience I created. I couldn’t be happier because of the bonds of friendship that were created through cooking.
Zaiyu Hasegawa, Den (Tokyo, Japan)