On the Road: It's All Happening
Chef Greg Dunmore's quest to bring the best of Japan to your kitchen.
April 11, 2016 ● 1 min read
When I first started cooking — some 20 plus years ago now — I fell in love with the world of ingredients that are available to professional chefs.
I’ve tried fresh-pressed Umbrian olive oil, and watched pastas being extruded through bronze presses in Tuscany. I’ve harvested salad greens for dinner service, straight from the ground of organic farms in Calistoga. In Japan, I’ve witnessed sesame seeds transformed by toasting, grinding and pressing into a full spectrum of fragrant oils, I've stepped around soy sauce fermenting in charred barrels, I've tasted spring water before it ferments the rice for sake. I've witnessed the shaving of bonito flakes and helped to pack bags of those shavings for sale.
I started my food career early by working in kitchens in high school. I worked my way up from the bottom, owning every station, earning a Michelin star at Ame, and eventually opened my own acclaimed restaurant, Nojo. Nojo was a transformational experience; I knew that I loved Japanese food, but it was my travels in Japan, meeting incredible producers, that truly opened up my thinking.
That world has typically been closed off to American chefs; importing these niche, high-quality ingredients has been a vision of mine for years. Having recently sold Nojo, I've made that vision a reality with The Japanese Pantry. I consider myself lucky to have worked in an industry that provided the opportunity to immerse myself in a world that most people can only experience from the outside — now I'm committed to bringing those stories, traditions, and flavors to the kitchens of professionals and home cooks alike.
Follow us here as we journey back through Japan, seeking the best products and highlighting the generations of amazing craftsmen who regard their work as a true life calling. I look forward to sharing our findings with you.