Entre Terre et Lune ～Between the Earth and the Moon～ ESqUISSE Collaboration Event in NOTO｜Scenery Where Rich Japan is Created
“ESqUISSE” in Ginza, Tokyo led by Mr. Lionel Beccat , a French chef, held a collaboration event titled “Entre Terre et Lune” (Between the Earth and the Moon), in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture. We will report the moments which French heart and soul met “Beautiful Japan.”
“We have less snow this year,” said the locals. Yet, I could not repress shivering with the cold winter of Noto. When I arrived at the venue of this event, the “Café & Restaurant of HEIDEE WINERY” that stands just in front of the seashore of Sendaihama, there was a beautiful rainbow spanning the sky over the sea and the café as if it was the prologue of a banquet which is just about to begin. It threw seven colors of light on desolate wintery Noto.
For this collaboration project, four professionals got together: Chef Lionel, Mr. Akito Akagi, nushi (lacquer artist) of Wajima lacquer, Chef Toshiya Ikehata of “L’Atelier de NOTO” in Wajima City, and Chef Meiju Hirata of “Villa della Pace” in Nanao City. Under the theme of “Between the Earth and the Moon,” the team collaborated in making a course dish. Ingredients are of course from Noto. It’s so extravagant that tableware is all lacquer ware made by Mr. Akagi.
“I heard from Mr. Akagi that ultimate coating comes out more beautifully when it is completed at full moon. He told me that in a village called Kanakura, the bigger the difference of brightness between night and day, the better rice and vegetables grow. There is little artificial illumination in Kanakura, so a full moon is the brightest light at night, thus the gap of lighting between night and day is larger compared to cities. That makes rice and vegetable harvested there delicious. All lacquer, vegetables and rice grow from the soil. We, human beings are often inspired by the moon, too. You don’t feel it in Tokyo, but you receive the strong energy of the moon and the earth in a place full of nature like Noto. Our thoughts go to such moon and the earth in this event,” Chef Lionel commented on the theme. “We once talked about the color of the moon. One said it’s pale, another said yellow, and the other said gold. I said beige. The color of the same moon varies this much among individuals,” he mentioned additionally. The idea to get from the nature differs according to the person. It seems the moon and the earth of Noto made Chef Lionel realize such view as well.
“I hope people enjoy finding a use of the tradition of lacquer, that Japan takes pride, in French cuisine too,” Mr. Akagi who participated in this food event as a lacquerer indicated in his speech. I first hesitated to use knives and forks on lacquer plates. Yet, I realized soon there was nothing better than lacquer ware that goes with beautiful dishes using ingredients from Noto and rustic sights of rice fields and the sea spreading outside the window. It’s absolutely a precious experience of a lifetime. I saw new potential in Wajima lacquer.
“Intimate Scenery – Paysages Intimes” Meiju HIRATA
Rice, turkey, and seaweed
The crispy dark meat and juicy breast of a turkey are so tasty that you want to keep them in your month forever. A side dish is grilled risotto made of Italian rice, Koshihikari rice, and nori seaweed from Noto.
“Between Two World – Entre Deux Mondes” Toshiya IKEHATA
Daikon radish, calamari, and citrus fruits
Daikon radish simmered gently in clams’ juice is served with calamari and yuzu (a small citrus fruits). You can enjoy the gradation of three different ingredients.
“Light in the Dark – Clairs Obscurs” Lionel Beccat
Yellowtail, seaweed, and root vegetables
Yellowtail in the best season is marinated with Fromage blanc, barley miso and home-made yuzu paste. Yellowtail shines like a jewel by Chef Lionel’s hands. The taste is extremely beautiful, too.