"Japanese cuisine is inextricably tied to the bounty of nature and the cycle of the seasons—a wealth of photographs and expert commentary define the special traditions of food in Japan."
– MURATA YoshihiroDirector, Japanese Culinary Academy
There is no doubt that interest in Japanese food has really burgeoned in Europe over the last 10 or 15 years. Perhaps the health benefits were an important catalyst in the growth of its popularity, but large numbers of people now appreciate Japanese food for its intrinsic good flavours and textures born of its sensitivity to season, freshness and presentation.
The last 15 years have seen a lot of Japanese cookbooks appear from local publishers across Europe, with a noticeable accent on ease of preparation and a contemporary fusion style, interacting with local tastes and ingredients. Yet at the same time professional chefs have become increasingly influenced by Japanese cuisine and it is conspicuous how frequently the TV chefs have been referring to it in their shows. This has contributed to an increasing demand for a reference source on more 'pure' Japanese cuisine and the words 'dashi' and 'umami' have even entered the English language!
This new project from the Japanese Culinary Academy and Shuhari Initiative is very exciting precisely because it addresses this need for something new on traditional Japanese cuisine that has an appeal that goes beyond the purely professional market. The fact that The Japanese Culinary Academy's Complete Japanese Cuisine is a project that is ongoing over several volumes and is conceived, designed and written by Japan's foremost chefs and culinary experts makes it very special and completely unprecedented in its scope. Furthermore, the sheer beauty of the design and the quality of the photography, writing and book production combine to create a series that will be the standard work on Japanese cuisine for many years to come.
This first volume Introduction to Japanese Cuisine - Nature, History and Culture contains absolutely everything that the chef or serious cook needs to know to fully understand the cuisine and its cultural context, and is superbly illustrated. I believe anyone who has a serious desire to understand the art that is Japanese cuisine will absolutely want to have this book in their library.
There are no others like it.
Chapter 1 Nature and Climate
Chapter 2 History and Development
Chapter 3 Artistic Awareness
Chapter 4 The Essentials
Chapter 5 Dishes for Seasonal Festivities
The Japanese Culinary Academy was founded in 2004 to support the advancement and spread of Japanese cuisine. JCA is engaged in educational, cultural and technical research as well as in dissemination of the results of its research for people living not only in Japan but other parts of the world. Aimed at contributing to the promotion of understanding of Japanese cuisine and enhancement of its appeal, JCA activities also include the development of food culture, training of professionals, nutritional education for the upcoming generations, and exchange programmes for chefs around the world.