Bourdain In Japan: Sperm Galore
|Bourdain, Chang and nuggets.|
Question: Cook It Raw, awesome or douchey? Discuss!
Tony is at a unagi place in Tokyo called Hosokaya. He notes the rhythmic whack of eel after eel getting a large nail into its eye then eviscerated. We could call it nose to tail dining, but isn't an eel all tail? After a meal of eel liver, guts, and some dried eel liver, Tony meets chef Rene Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen. Tony says that Noma is considered the best restaurant in the world. Rene counters with the fact that his mom thinks so. They discuss what Cook It Raw actually is over a dish of codfish sperm and spinach. There will be a lot of sperm eating, by the way. As Tony delights in the sperm dish, he disses Brussels sprouts.
Question: Would you rather eat sprouts or sperm? Discuss!
David Chang has flown in for the Cook it Raw (demo? competition? display of prowess). He and Tony go to Lawson, which is a drug store chain that has a fast food counter. Basically the Japanese version of Seven Eleven. Chang orders some chicken nuggets in two flavors -- red and brown. Tony says "that's some quality convenience store food."
Question: Why is it that if a regular person eats fast food, we're know-nothings devoid of any taste, and when David Chang eats fast food, he's a hipster foodie who just discovered a new trend? Discuss!
The Cook It Raw chefs have gathered and we see James Beard winner Sean Brock from Husk and McCrady's, who you may recall left his own dinner at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar early, where he was either "under the weather or drunk", according to our sister blog Clean Plate Charlie. Each chef gets a handmade plate, which is designed to inspire their dish at the Eat It Raw dinner. Also -- sperm is the pork belly of 2013. Sean says "I'm going to eat more sperm." Is this a trend we want to see come to Miami (please insert your own off-color joke here).
Question: Would you eat at a restaurant called Pubsperm? Discuss!
The chefs are driven to some woods where they are given a basket and told to forage. As they pick their way through the woods they note that something smells like vomit. Something else is poisonous, something smells like wet dog and there are big nasty spiders all around.
Question: Are you hungry yet? Discuss!
The gang goes to Katano Kamoik pond, which is known for duck hunting the old fashioned way -- with nets. "That way we don't hurt the ducks," says one of the hunters. Apparently killing the duck doesn't hurt it at all. Sean Brock is trying to catch a dozen ducks but comes back empty handed, so they head to a duck sanctuary, which in Japanese means a "place to kill ducks".
Question: Would you rather throw a large net into the air or blast a duck with a gun (NRA card not required, by the way)? Discuss!
It's finally time for dinner and Tony tells us that this is the place to go big or go home. We see Sean Brock, who doesn't have any duck for his duck dish, drinking whiskey straight from the bottle. While everyone has caught, foraged, and hunted his own food, Brock merely asks the nice people in the kitchen if they have any pig parts lying around, then proceeds to barbecue. As Tony puts it, you can take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man. As each plate gets served, Tony eats rocks, whelk, twigs, and fermented fugu. Alas, no sperm. But there's ice cream for dessert.
Question: Are you disappointed there was no sperm served at the dinner? Discuss!
Tony and David Chang meet to discuss the evening. There were some successes and some successful failures. Tony poses the last question:
Does one cook to make art or to nourish people? Or is it a little of both? Discuss!
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