Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Planning a Japanese kaiseki dinner by a famous chef for a 50th birthday party in Tokyo



Suddenly, all my friends are asking me to plan events and trips for them in Tokyo.

Tokyo has become the city of the moment, and people are flying in from all over Asia to celebrate birthdays, reunions, and wedding anniversaries here.



Or else they're doing milestone family trips and are asking me to recommend everything from hotels and restaurants to menus.

DREAMING OF KAISEKI MEALS
IN MY SLEEP


Yes, I've been planning out so many kaiseki dinners that the menus are rolling in my head as I sleep.

We are Travelife after all, and no one knows Japan like we do.

ON TOP OF THE WORLD
AFTER A WEEKEND IN COPENHAGEN



So today, almost straight off the plane from a weekend in Copenhagen, living a Travelife, I found myself climbing up a very high fence at the back of a gorgeous rooftop terrace in Tokyo.

Meanwhile the aide-de-camp of one of Asia's best and most famous chefs looked on uneasily, looking as if he was ready to catch me if I fell.

He also looked like he very well knew that we would both fall over on the ground if I actually did fall and he actually did attempt to catch me.

-----------------------------------------------

TRAVELIFE WITH US

MOROCCO




RISK IS MY MIDDLE NAME

But I wasn't paying attention to the risks.

I was fixated on a pole at the end of the fence.

I was trying to determine whether it would be high enough and good enough to string long ropes of Japanese origami cranes on it, without having the cranes distract the diners seated on the terrace, as they feasted on an amazing kaiseki dinner to celebrate a milestone birthday.

Yes, I wanted to have a big sit-down dinner party on this terrace, prepared by a famous Michelin-starred chef, and to have as some special effects to accompany it.



"Yes, this'll do," I told the aide-de-camp of the very famous chef, quite pleased with my imagination skills.

I hope this friend appreciates all my efforts to make his birthday very special. I actually climbed a fence for him today, after all.

Since people are flying in from Manila and all over the world, I thought it would be nice to give them an evening they won't forget.

FORMAL BUT NOT FESTIVE



Someone has asked me to plan a 50th birthday for him in Tokyo, you see, and he wanted an amazing Japanese dinner by a famous chef -- but not at the famous chef's restaurant.

What's wrong with the restaurant? You might be wondering.



Absolutely nothing.

But if you've ever been to a proper kaiseki restaurant, especially one with an attitude and a couple of Michelin stars, you'll know there's nothing festive about the atmosphere.

CELEBRATING SOME GOOD SUSHI AND SASHIMI



It's very proper for Japan and a kaiseki setting, but you certainly don't feel like celebrating anything except perhaps having tasted some very good sashimi.

But it's not quite a celebratory atmosphere for a 50th birthday.

"YES" IS HIS MIDDLE NAME



And since this friend is used to always getting his way, he asked me to find a famous chef to make a fantastic kaiseki meal for 30 people -- and then to ask this chef to prepare the meal somewhere else outside his restaurant.




And then he just took it for granted that this famous chef -- someone willing to cook in a strange venue, just like a caterer -- would materialise, just like that.

And then today, there I was, climbing fences on top of buildings in Tokyo, in an effort to find the perfect venue with a view and a dozen more ways to make this dinner even more special.



Like commissioning thousands of paper cranes to be hung from above to complement the colourful dishes being served on the table.

He wanted "festive atmosphere," after all.

And hiring one of Tokyo's best sommeliers to pair everything with fantastic Japanese sake. I just went through the sake sommelier's CV today, and boy, does he sound impressive.

Scroll down to read more...



MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FROM THE START

But back to our kaiseki chef.

If you know kaiseki chefs, then you'll understand how next to impossible this friend's birthday wish was, to have a famous kaiseki chef cook on a rooftop terrace.

Kaiseki chefs like to create masterpieces on their home turf, and they usually only make dinners for 6 to 12 people at a time at their restaurant.

"IMPOSSIBLE" ISN'T OUR MIDDLE NAME


But then, "impossible" really isn't a word we know at Travelife Magazine -- which is why I was also able to get another very famous chef in Japan to cook a private dinner for another group of friends headed for Tokyo in less than two weeks' time.

This is usually pretty "impossible" as well, because so far, Chef #2 has also turned down everyone but us. So I've promised to keep mum on his identity and so I can't spell out his world-famous name here.

But I'll certainly have two groups of very happy friends over in Japan soon, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

Keep posted for more on these dinners....

No comments:

Post a Comment