Tableware and food go hand in hand so in the name of research…(!) I was treated to a restaurant specialising in Kaiseki ryori when I was over in Japan. It’s a Japanese meal with its roots in the tea ceremony with many tiny courses that balance taste, texture, appearance and presentation.
The chef owner, Kobayashi san explained how he pairs the crockery and presentation with food and seasons. The photo books of previous years came out, explaining that he not only contemplates the four seasons, but sub-season themes and festivals also.
He lost 80% of his crockery in the Earthquake which was worth £100,000. But we got to see some of his skills in ‘kintsugi’ which is an art of filling in the chips and cracks with gold and lacquer. Beautiful.
An example of a dish that is inspired by the Karatsu ware, above. Our courses were monotone in colour as the cooking reflects the season and it was mid-winter so it figures. We’d had the first snow of the season that day so he chose a dish for a our sashimi dish (pictured below) which has specs of snow glazed into it.
The burned strawberries and ice cream in a lovely blue seiji dish which has been damaged but fixed by Kobayashi san. The combination of gold and pale blue is lovely enough but with the bright red strawberries, beautiful! (Japanese strawberry season is in winter.)
A summer course where the food rested on plates that look like flowers of morning glory which rests on a wooden structure which they often climb up in Japan. Underneath is another plate of food which is hidden under the construction.
Thank you Kobayashi san, the chef and owner of the wonderful restauran, Koto, in Koriyama for explaining your ceramics and even bringing the photo book out.