ANTI-AGING COOKING at Brasserie Le Rire
What is "anti-aging cooking"?
The processes of oxidation, saccharifi cation, and inflammation within the body lead to aging. Antiaging cooking means cooking with ingredients that have antioxidant effects, which help to resist oxidation, and using preparation methods and approaches that resist saccharification.
What are the differences from previous cooking methods, and what are the intended effects?
Japanese people like the smells of soy sauce and meat scorching. They feel that something is delicious if it is cooked to be well browned. But if that is taken too far, it leads to complete saccharification. Protein gets saccharified and hardens. I'm working on spreading guidance about this way of eating.
One example is aburi toro (flame-grilled tuna belly) and similar methods, which totally oxidize fish oils. Searing and oxidizing unstable oils before eating them is no good for the body. My approach to cooking is to spread knowledge of preparation and cooking methods as cuisine, so that the people who eat that way start to incorporate it into their everyday lives. In my cooking, I aim to get people to reflect dietary hints like that in their normal diets.
Do you use special ingredients and condiments?
I hardly use any condiments. The base of Japanese cooking consists of sake, soy sauce, miso, vinegar, and mirin, which are all fermented ingredients, so I use them to get the advantages of fermentation, but I don't use condiments for flavoring.
Can this cooking be done easily at home?
Yes, it can. I tell people things they can do normally, and correct methods.
Your restaurant, Le Rire, has an antiaging theme. When did it open?
It started in Shirokane Takanawa on January 16, 2008, under the name "Rire". It moved to Sendagaya in November 2015.
What was the most important point for picking the menu?
Not doing anything unnecessary. Using the characteristics of the materials. For example, potatoes have a temperature range in which they taste better, called the starch saccharification temperature range. Beans and leafy vegetables are both green, but the ways they should be boiled are different. I think about how to make ingredients taste delicious from just their own properties. My experience as a cook and elements from nutrition and cooking sciences are important. Some things don't taste good until you boil them enough, and some don’t if they are boiled too much, so it is very important to identify the right amount when cooking with heat. I watch the ingredients all the time, and change what I do accordingly.
What are popular menu items at Le Rire?
First, there's "Phyto Rich Salad". Vegetables rich in phytochemicals, like potato, kabocha squash, and tomato are blended with an anchovy sauce, with lots of herbs and leaves added on top, followed by balsamico sauce.
Sea Food Paella is also popular. It's based on a collagen sauce extracted from fish bones. It uses ingredients that enhance skin health, such as taurine, iron, and amino acids from mixed-grain rice, fish, and vegetables.
Besides anti-aging cooking, you're active in various fields, like university teaching and lecturing, and writing books. Are you thinking of choosing a filed to concentrate your efforts on in future?
I'm thinking of going where I'm needed. If my workload gets to be too much, I think some things will naturally drop out. But my position doesn't change. I think I keep on doing the same things while the world around me changes. Cooking is fun, teaching is fun, writing recipes is fun. It's all fun.
What do you try to do, day by day, in your work as a nutritionist and as a chef?
I study. I like learning things that I don't know before. I like finding how to do things that I couldn't do before. Before a chef requires training, so if you don't do it, you stop being able to do it. For example, if I needed to teach rotary slicing at school and couldn't do it myself, it would be a problem, so I make sure I can do it to the minimum level. There is joy in learning to do things one couldn't do before, so I still remember the delight of learning to ride a bike.
You're an artisan, and a chef, and also a manager, right?
Maybe I'm not an artisan. I don't have the sensibilities of a manager, so those of a cook are the strongest. I think I'm someone with a sense of balance. I think my restaurant management is good enough if it stands up as a company. For example, if having a restaurant meant more work, or making commercials, and me going on TV made the retaurant busier. One side can't stand up on its own, so sometimes I think it's OK it the whole thing works.
Finally, what does "cooking" mean to you?
It's enjoyable time. It's fun to figure out things about cooking, even if it comes from thinking about cooking rather than actually doing it. COoking is always on my mind.
Brasserie Le RireB1F 4-19-12 Sendagaya Shibuya-ku Tokyo (Tel: 03-6447-4171)
Open hours: Lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM (L.O. 2PM) Dinner 5PM-10:30PM (L.O. 9:30 PM) Closed: Monday
Chisako Hori Owner & Chef of Brasserie Le Rire
Chisako Hori is keeping busy in various directions, as a nutritionist, diet advisor, and guest professor at a vocational college. We asked her about anti-aging cooking. She is also the owner and chef of the restaurant Le Rire, which she has given the theme of anti-aging. She has written over 10 books, including "Delicious Anti-aging Cooking Every Day - Ingredient Selection and Preparation" and "Nutritional Recipes to Stay Fit to 100".