The mood got lighter after hearing talk of leadership and sustainability, as Hawaii Food & Wine Festival invited attendees to “Get Wild and Raw.”
Morimoto, who must have some of the planet’s top knife skills, demonstrated yotaku to start. He removed the tuna’s head, bones and skin in seconds and laid the fillets on kombu, a kelp that induces curing.
Tsai joked, “In China, we take hundreds of years perfecting how to cook fish. In Japan, they’re very smart, they serve it raw and charge double.”
Tsai made it clear, “We have one sea. This is not a dress rehearsal. If we blow it, we blow it.” Given that, he’s convinced “farm raised is the way to go.”
Tsai created curry oil with roasted curry powder. Smoking in the pan signals the essence is released. He then add canola oil and whisks. Once the curry settles, then he flash fries the fish, plates with chives, a drizzle of yuzu, julienne ginger, tomato, cucumber and daikon.
Tsai, always ready with a quip, left the crowd with a parting shot: “Support your restaurants, which is really important because my children will go to college if you go to Blue Ginger.”