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Régis Camus, legendary chef de cave of Rare, reveals his favorite Japanese food

We interview influential people from overseas and ask them about Japanese food and ingredients. For the second interview we asked Mr. Régis Camus Chef de Cave of Rare Champagne which is the top range of Piper-Heidsieck to answer three questions.  

He is the soul, philosophy and style of Piper-Heidsieck. He received the Sparkling Winemaker of the year award at International Wine Challenge in 2004 as well as consecutively from 2007 through 2013..  He is the man of Champagne.

What was your favorite dish during this trip to Japan?

This is a very difficult question to answer.  I particularly like raw fish particularly and it goes well with Rare Champagne in general.  The 2006 vintage of Rare is a good match with Tempura.  Various Japanese ingredients are able to be paired and enjoyed with different vintages of Rare champagne.  

During this trip to Japan I tried Hegisoba for the first time and it was very good.  I am not saying that that was the best food I had during this trip, but I experienced Sobayu for the first time at Hegisoba restaurant.  I never knew about the custom of drinking the mixture of soba sauce and hot water used for boiling soba as soup.

I feel most happy in Japan when I can talk with chefs face to face over the counter of Sushi, Tempura and Teppanyaki restaurants.  You can see the actual ingredients before they get cooked and see how they get changed with the talents of chefs.  You can also sense the character of each chef.

Name one Japanese ingredient you are interested in.

I have more than one!  Ginger, Wasabi and Yuzu.  

I love Japanese ginger especially Gari.  I am so fond of its flavors and texture and it is a great palate cleanser.  Ginger in France is too soft and does not have the same texture with Japanese ones.  I just get disappointed, so I do not eat it in France.  

Just like pepper, too much Wasabi is no good and adding the right amount is important.  I love spice, so I love Wasabi.  When the proper amount is served with Sushi, wasabi enhances its flavor, but if too much is used, it spoils the flavors of fish.  It also warms up the mouth.  

Yuzu is a love at first sight for me.  I just love it! Yuzu Sake I discovered at the Sake exhibition in San Francisco was so fantastic that I went back to the booth to taste it again.

What would you eat at your last supper?

I would think about what to drink first at the last supper.  I need a magnum bottle Champagne!  I love simple dishes and would choose one such as caprese.  Drizzle of olive oil over tomatoes and mozzarella cheese with a sprinkle of Guerande salt.  A magnum of `98 Rare would be good.  I would like to disappear gracefully armed by its beauty at the end.  If I pick `79 Rare it would bring up lots of memories for me since that was my first harvest as a cellar master. To accompany the 79 vintage, comte aged 36 months would be the  best. You can serve some crispy baguette with salted butter from Bourtagne alongside it.

更新: 2019年12月12日

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