CHENNAI: For some people, it is passion that reveals a career path. For Migita Masao, head chef of Fuji restaurant, it was destiny. Though he doesn’t speak much English, he communicates through his strong emotions. “Life! My father passed away when I was young. My mother had to set up a small coffee shop to earn a living. It was pretty rough. I began helping her, and after high school, I got a job as a trainee at a local restaurant. That’s where my journey began,” he says.
Five years ago, chef Migita moved to India after his mother passed away. He faced a new environment and a new challenge. “I wanted to alter my future, choose a new lifestyle, and explore places. So I came to India.” He started out at Gurgaon and moved to Chennai recently as the head chef at Fuji. “I have 25 years of experience in cooking. I don’t know when I fell in love with food, but I did. I get to be creative, explore a variety of ingredients, flavours and experiment. I’m concentrating on Japanese continental food right now at Fuji, but I plan to bring in some fusion elements and a variety of Japanese desserts,” said the 54-year-old, known for his Midas touch to simple recipes.
So, how do Chennaiites like Japanese food? Well, anything raw is a big no-no. “We suggest some skewer grills, grilled chicken, steaks, rolled sushi and tempura. They are common, familiar dishes, but the flavours will be Japanese,” he added.
For those who think Japanese food is bland, and is all about sushi, look at it this way. Their cuisine is one that lets you explore and relish the original, real flavours of the food. “Even Japanese water is different. Not that it’s sweeter; it’s clear and pure,” adds the chef. He says that sushi is his favourite dish.
When he heard the word ‘vegetarian,’ the chef let out a loud chuckle and shook his head. “Big problem. We do offer vegetarian food, but not authentic dishes as we would need a separate kitchen for them.” But don’t be disappointed if you’re a vegetarian. You can still try Tempura — the Japanese pakoda!
Life may have been tough for Mitiga, but he managed to get something amazing out of it — a craze for food. Also known as a master in the art of sushi, he talks about its varieties. We asked him which dish takes the longest time to cook, and he replied, “Sushi.” Which is the most difficult? “Sushi, and all the others too,” he says. So, what’s the easiest then? “Sushi,” he grins. Well, quite a variety of sushis exist.