Chef Wakiya is a culinary artist well-known to globe-trotting gourmands for his Japanese television appearances as well as his restaurants (Americans were welcomed to the table in 2007, when he opened Wakiya at New York's Gramercy Park Hotel). His fans can now recreate (or at least read about) their favorite dishes with this stunning cookbook, a testament to Wakiya's skill, imagination and craftsmanship. Blending Chinese, Japanese and French techniques into a style all his own, Wakiya's innovative approach makes each page revelatory, with clear explanation of culinary show-stoppers like glistening Tofu with Black Sesame Sauce (surprisingly easy to prepare), artful Potato and Chicken Croquettes and classics like Peking Duck and Pan-Seared Jade Dumplings. Many ingredients will be difficult, if not impossible, to source in the West, but Wakiya's goal is stay as authentic and transparent as possible; though few readers will attempt the laborious, multi-day preparation for dried shark fin (in Shark's Fin Soup), they'll surely appreciate Wakiya's meticulous process. Other dishes are more straightforward, like Fresh Calamari with Mustard Sauce and Stir-Fried Chicken with Sansho Pepper; assuming they can locate shiso flowers and leaves, cooks can also easily recreate the gorgeous Fried Rice with Shiso Flowers. Still, it's Wakiya's storied skill, matched with eye-popping photographs of his luxurious dishes, that will draw in chefs, home cooks and culinary tourists.
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