Gelinaz, the chef’s collective, are back in town on the 3rd December. But this time, they are not travelling, they are staying “at home”. What travels this time, are their recipes. Each chef had to submit eight recipes that are typical for him/her, but she/he never served them at the restaurant yet. Those recipes were then shuffled and sent to another chef who will remix them in his/her own way and serve on the 3rd of December, for one night only, dishes inspired by those recipes to her/his guests. The guests and the chef will get to know whose recipes was interpreting the chef only at the end of the dinner through the Gelinaz ambassador who will attend the dinner (I will be that night the ambassador at the Aimsir restaurant in Ireland). Ambassadors will also take care of communication from the restaurants on that night, so if you are curious what is happening on the other side of the world, do follow us on Instagram (mine is here).
Thomas Frebel has received the recipes. And now?
What was your first thought when you read the recipes you received?
What do you think of them now?
Now I see them in the same way as I see all other recipes: recipes are only guidelines, guidelines for a dish that needs to adapt to the location and time you are in – climate and region, and also adapt partially to the place you are in and the guests you are going to serve. Also, often you need to adapt ingredients, because for example many ingredients from the recipes we received you even can’t get here in Japan. What is important is knowing those ingredients, understanding them and being able to find suitable replacements. And that’s why I think that receiving only guidelines, not real recipes, allows us to be much more free and open minded in our creativity for this particular menu.
If you had to choose an animal to describe them, what would it be?
If recipes we received would be an animal … maybe some of you know the Disney’s Robin Hood where Robin Hood is a fox and Little John a big brown bear, the happiest warmest and friendliest creature on the entire planet. And just because I believe that the recipes or guidelines we received are from my very dear friend I can’t help myself of thinking of a big fluffy brown bear with the rastas hanging down his back and just hugging everybody and smiling and being the most happy creature on this planet.
How will you approach it?
It will be a mix of what I was doing in the past when I was living on the coast of Colombia 8 months, when I was travelling all over Mexico and being in Tulum – thinking of the flavours I had over there … and then since I believe I know which restaurant the recipes are from, I will include my memories of my amazing dining experiences there and the hot sauces he continues bringing me when he visits me in Japan. On top of that, my head chef Carlos Conde, who is not from the Caribbean but he is the closest to Caribbean in our team (he is from Guatemala) greatly supports right now the test kitchen with all his knowledge of food and with his palate.
What will be the greatest challenge for you in this Gelinaz project?
The greatest challenge in this Gelinaz event is without a doubt coming up with a menu which has its origin in the other part of the world with a range of flavours which are totally opposite of what Japanese flavours are. To find and understand ingredients which we believe are appropriate to replace Caribbean ingredients and to fine tune and retune the entire team for one night and one night only to gve our guest the experience they are hoping to get for this crazy event.
And what are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the challenges this event brings.There is a deadline for this thing and sometimes, if you want it or not, you have to make a choice. You need to move fast and all is based more on intuition than logical thinking. Also am looking forward to see my team cooking with the ingredients they have maybe never used before and which will we probably not use at Inua ever again and transform the restaurant into a different place from what it usually s.
We are jumping straight into the Christmas and New Year celebrations here in Japan. The restaurant will be more or less operating the entire December which is amazing, but can be sometimes also exhausting and satisfying at the same time – it gives us a chance to celebrate together with our guests and makes us proud that they have chosen us for their celebration. After that we will send our team for a rest, to spend some time with their friends and family, the spouses, their children …. and then straight into 2020 the year of Olympic games in Japan!
PS Do check also Felix Schellhorn, Luca Fantin, Richie Lin, Jonathan Tam, Prateek Sadhu, Riccardo Camanini, Yoji Tokuyoshi, Gabriela Camara, Chiho Kanzaki & Marcello di Giacomo, Lorenzo, Stefano & Benedetto, Micha Schäfer, Ana Ros, Jose Avillez, Karime Lopez, Angelo Agliano, Philip Rachinger, Niki Nakayama, Jeremy Chan, Niko Romito, Bo Songvisava & Dylan Jones, Antonio Galapito, Christophe Hardiquest, Antonia Klugmann, Jordan Bailey, Selassie Atadika, Rodolfo Guzman, Alberto Landgraf, Virgilio Martinez,Alex Atala, Zaiyu Hasegawa and Santiago Lastra.