After nine seasons, one of my favourite shows came to an end this week with the final episode taking place in Brooklyn but my review is of an episode which aired way back in May. I didn’t actually watch it until a couple of months ago and this particular one offered an alternative to the shows usual format. Following his trips to Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido in previous seasons, Anthony was back in Japan yet again but this time it was for a gastronomic event called “Cook It Raw.”
The programme started with Anthony in Tokyo not so long after the big earthquake disaster where he met Ivan Orkin; a New Yorker who has become a very successful chef over here with his Ivanramen restaurant and instant ramen. However Ivan took Tony to a traditional eel restaurant (below) where the chef kills the eel and then breaks it down into all different organs and they inevitably discuss how Tokyo has changed since the disaster on March 11th.
Anthony then talked to one founding chef of the “Cook It Raw” movement and discussed signature dishes but agreed that they don’t like them as they dont want their biggest success to be all they’re remembered for.
Dave Chang is a “Cook It Raw” regular and his story from his younger days was the highlight of this show which is sad as he took Anthony to a Lawson convenience store (above) which used to be his main source of meals. As someone who regularly has to depend on convenience store food in-between lessons I can appreciate how good these places are.
Once they leave Tokyo behind its “Cook It Raw” time in Ishikawa-ken which held less interest for me. This is an event whereby 15 of the world’s best chefs are placed in an unfamiliar landscape to forage (this word was used frequently throughout the show’s duration) for local ingredients as they let their creative genius run amok before serving up the resulting dishes to culinary experts. As much as I have learned to appreciate food more and more in recent times its still very hard for me to get excited about these kind of creations whereby chefs seemingly just stick a mushroom, a leaf and a twig on a plate and the tasters rave about it. However, without these experimenters, the world of gastronomy wouldn’t keep moving forward.
If you’ve never seen the show then try one of the other Japan episodes as they’re far more interesting. This is one for the fans wanting to see something a little different from their favourite witty, sarcastic and profanity-using American chef/TV personality.