Interview with sake master Toshi Maeda + win a chotto and cocktail package for two at Ocean Room Sydney
1. What prompted you to become a sake master?
The very first time I tried the Tatsuriki Daiginjo YK40 from award winning brewery - Honda Shorten. A life changing experience, I was blown away by the complexity of its flavours. It definitely removed my image of sake as burning, harsh and an ‘old man’s drink’. When I found out that this sake came from my hometown of Kobe in Japan, I started thinking about how I could introduce this beautiful Japanese drink to the Australian people.
2. What makes a good sake?
Rice, water, yeast and Koji mould, but the most important thing is the love and passion that breweries put into their products!
3. What should people look for when choosing sake?
If you want premium grade sake, look for the words Ginjo or Daiginjo on the bottle labels. Otherwise and similar to choosing wine, if the label looks great in your eyes, just try it!
4. What misconceptions do you think people have about sake?
The most common misconception is that all sake is strong, burning and a harsh alcohol option. The truth is, if you drink premium grade sake such as Ginjo or Daiginjo, you can taste how clean, fruity, subtle and sensitive it really is.
5. Can sake be paired with food, and how should people approach it?
Honestly, I believe that sake is one of the rarest alcohols in the world that can be matched with any type of food from different cuisines. Matching sake with Japanese cuisine is customary but it also goes well perfectly with French, Italian and Chinese food. I think the umami (or savoury taste) and sweetness of the rice can hold to different cuisines quite well.
6. Why are some sakes served hot and others served cold? Does it indicate a difference in quality?
Frankly, when you drink good quality sake, drink it cold, but when you drink bad quality sake, drink it warm. But at the end of the day it’s all down to your personal preference.
7. You're originally from Kobe, Japan. Is there anything you miss about Japan that you can't find here?
I miss Nama which is a type of sake which is made without pasteuring. Other types of sake are usually pasteurised twice before shipment but because Nama sake doesn’t go through this process, you can taste its fresh and fruity notes at its birth.
8. What were some of your favourite foods or snacks in Japan when you were growing up?
Rice grown in my grandmother’s fields and the local Kobe wagyu beef. They were the best!
9. What foods do you crave when you're sick?
Steaming Japanese hot pot with lots of vegetables with hot sake mixed with egg yolk and honey.
10. You initially arrived in Australia with the intent to study English for a year, but never left. That was over ten years ago. What made you decide to stay, and what keeps you here?
The nature and its beautiful minded people. There are a lot of opportunities and plenty of hope
in this country. I love Australia!
- Two chotto selection plates (Raita's recommendation of five assorted chotto)
- Two cocktails.
- The chotto and cocktail package is valid Tuesday to Thursday, during either lunch or dinner
- The prize must be redeemed within six months.
All you have to do is fulfil the requirements below:
- Leave a comment on this post and tell us: What do you love most about Sydney?
- And then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading "Ocean Room" and include your full name and a copy of your published comment from this post.
- OR ENTER VIA THE GRAB YOUR FORK FACEBOOK FAN PAGE - Simply leave your answer on the event listing here.
The Ocean Room competition closes on Sunday 19 September 2010 at 5.30pm AEST. The winner will be announced on Grab Your Fork on Monday 20 September 2010.
EDIT: This competition has now closed. Congratulations to the winner announced here.
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8/27/2010 01:52:00 a.m.