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Izumi Kimura

Sushijin, Japan
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Chef Izumi Kimura loves to put a smile on the faces of his guests. Inspired to become a Sushi Master at the age of 29, his story reminds us all that is never too late to follow your dream. Sushijin is located in Toyama, his hometown, where Kimura-san is able to ensure only the freshest, locally caught fish is selected for his kitchen. Chef Kimura was named Maverick Man of the Year by Esquire Magazine in 2018.

A talk with Izumi Kimura

Can you tell us about your journey as a Chef?
Before I became a Chef, I was a 29-yearold wood importer still struggling to find my calling. One day, I went to a restaurant at Ginza where I watched the Sushi Master prepare his ingredients over friendly conversation. Everything about this meal was intriguing to me and I knew I wanted to challenge myself to do the same. When I am at the counter at Sushijin preparing sushi and talking with my guests, my priority is that they have fun. Whenever a customer orders something, I try to add a little bit more to go beyond their expectations. For example, if someone orders tuna, I will of course prepare it for them right away, but I will also try to predict what he or she will want to order next and also make that. Doing this is like a game – a surprise for them to see whether or not I am correct, which creates a conversation. I always share with my guests whatever my heart tells me.
How do you care for the planet from your kitchen?
I also use local ingredients. Like Krug, I want to be able to meet with my growers or fishermen, making sure I responsibly select only the highest quality produce and fish. Being in my hometown, I better understand the environment, which helps me connect with my ingredients. My inspiration comes from Toyama and the sea, which I often visit.
Why is the onion special to you?
To me, the onion is symbolic of another time in my life and of how far I have come. Before opening Sushijin in Toyama, I had tried twice with other restaurants, both of which did not go as well as I had expected – they closed. During this period, due to my humble means, I would often eat a salad of thinly sliced onions with rice vinegar and dressing. Today, onion salad takes me back to the most challenging part of my career and reminds me of where I come from, making it a beautiful memory. As raw onions can be strong on the palate, I do not use them often in sushi, but leeks and scallions prepared in the right way can accentuate the aromas of the fish nicely.
Do you recall your first glass of Krug?
I tasted Krug for the first time the day I was named Maverick Man of the Year by Esquire magazine, for which I had been asked to pair my sushi with Krug Champagne. I felt a connection to Krug founder Joseph Krug, who was himself a refined maverick. The honour of being chosen for such an award and the amazing complexity and generosity I felt on my palate with the first sip of Krug made this day completely unforgettable.

Texture

  • STARTER
    2 servings
  • timing
    30 minutes
  • preparation time
    90 minutes
  • Cooking time
    15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

STEP 1.

1 daikon

1 bouquet bud

a mixture of red pepper 

and other spices

 

STEP 2.

1 rockfish (male)

 1 rockfish (female)

100 g spring onions (variation: Kujo leek)

70 ml ponzu sauce

 

STEP 3.

0,5 ml mirin

1,5 ml sake

10 ml soy sauce baked bones of rockfish

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT

STEP 1. DAIKON

Peel the daikon and shave it lengthwise. Leave in the fridge. Add herbs on top.

 

STEP 2. FISH

Peel the fish, cut the fillet, slice in biseau, salt both sides of each fish. Put the stalks in boiling water for 2 min, then set aside. Snack the bulbs on the pan. Build the brochette: 2 pieces of fish for one part white onion, twice per brochette. Grill on the barbecue for 3 to 4 min, then glaze with ponzu sauce.

 

STEP 3. SAUCE

Pour mirin and sake into the pot, burn off the alcohol and boil off all the water. Add soy sauce and baked bones of rockfish to the sauce, then put it on the burner for 20 min on low heat. Leave it aside to cool down.

 

SERVING INSTRUCTIONS

Place fish brochettes on the daikon ribbons and drizzle sauce.

PAIRING NOTES
The male and female rockfish give the recipe a muscular and fatty texture respectively, tied together by the spring onion’s bitter sweetness. Just as Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition is a harmonious blend of 198 wines, the dish is a balanced mixture of saltiness, bitterness and umami.
Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition

The Most Generous Expression of Champagne

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Krug Grande Cuvée
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