Depending on our schedules, we prefer to meet with our subjects and go over their responses. It doesn't always happen, but the case of Abesan at Bluefin– I'm thankful it did. Spending time with a subject brings out a side of their personality that we won't see in their responses. You can learn about what he shared in Tuesday's installment. Today, Takashi Abe discusses his love of simple, comfort food.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Network of chefs who are genuinely interested in supporting each other. These are exciting times in OC, where the level of talent and innovation is on the rise.
Your best recent food find:
Steamed pork wrapped with lettuce from Ye Dang Korean Restaurant in Tustin [Editor's Note: It was also his most recent meal.]
Where does the restaurant's name come from?
Bluefin is the finest species of tuna available.
Give us an example of your cutting edge cuisine.
I try to fuse elements from different styles of cooking. Using unusual ingredient combinations to create exciting flavors and visual presentations.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Don't try to make dishes that are too elaborate. Keep it simple and try to enjoy the experience.
Did Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa teach any valuable lessons to you?
Yes, many lessons. The one that stands out was to use the ingredients fully and creatively. Never let them go to waste. Also to create an environment of loyalty among your staff by treating them with respect.
Strangest customer request (and did you do it?):
When a customer wanted sushi, but informed me that they can't eat raw fish. They asked if I could make them sushi using cooked fish. I accommodated them that one time only.
One food you can't live without.
Rice and soy sauce because it brings back many fond memories of my childhood.
Favorite meal growing up.
Your earliest food memory:
My mother's one pot curry rice.
What is your beverage of choice?
Sake from my hometown of Yamagata, Japan. We are fortunate to carry many of the finest at Bluefin.
Favorite places to eat.
Most undervalued ingredient.
Shoyu (soy sauce). We make our own in-house using sake, sugar, bonito and kombu.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.