Behind The Apron: Shinji Morihara (Ezoca Japanese Cuisine)

At the helm of Ezoca Japanese Cuisine’s kitchen is Chef Shinji Morihara who has worked as head chef in major Asian cities such as Tokyo, Nagoya and Hong Kong before arriving in Singapore in 2009. The 52-year-old chef was born in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, and specialises in Kaiseki cuisine. Widely acknowledged as Hong Kong’s top Japanese chef, Chef Shinji boasts of several accolades which includes a mention in the Michelin Guide during his tenure as executive chef of Inagiku restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong.

We meet the man and learn about the inspiration behind his creations.

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How did your passion for culinary come about?

I decided to become a Kaiseki chef during my culinary training when I witnessed how customers appreciate the meal with a bow, smile and thankful heart even though it was an expensive one. Seeing how much my customers enjoy my creations motivates me each day and brings joy to my heart.

What is Kaiseki cuisine and why did you decide to specialise in it?

Kaiseki is created based on seasonal ingredients which are like blessings bestowed by nature. Much like a sport, each dish on an a la carte menu is like an individual player while Kaiseki selects the team players that create the best harmony. Hence, Kaiseki can be presented as a story of dishes by the creator.

I decided to specialise in Kaiseki as this enables me to serve my customers with a thankful heart. I also enjoy creating new dishes based on seasonal ingredients and the feedback my customers provide. Each assignment is always a challenging one!

What types of skills do you need to create a perfect kaiseki meal?

It is important to have a strong foundation. I picked up the basic skills of Kaiseki during my culinary training. This included the exquisite use of each ingredient. I still apply these basic skills up to today and this is the cornerstone for creating various dishes.

What is one dish you’ve created that reflects your personality and why?

The dish I created this month – Conger Myriaster, reflects my personality as it was inspired from a soup I created for a staff meal. That soup was made from the head of an Alfonsino fish served with some variety of vegetables. It turned out to be very delicious and I enjoy serving creative dishes that are delicious.

What is one lesson you’ve learnt from your mentor that you still apply till today?

All the masters that I have worked under as a training chef have inspired me in one way or another. I learned that we should serve dishes that leave a lasting impression on our customers. After a long culinary journey of 30 years, I have learned one thing – if we can provide happiness to a customer, they will come back for more.

Read more about our Kaiseki experience at Ezoca Japanese Cuisine HERE!

Interview

One Response to Behind The Apron: Shinji Morihara (Ezoca Japanese Cuisine)

  1. […] Learn more about Executive Chef Shinji Morihara- the resident Kaiseki master and his superior culinary repertoire in our feature HERE! […]

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