Michael Chiarello & Sang Yoon: The Most Transformative Meal

Michael Chiarello and Sang Yoon describe how one meal can make you always want just one more bite.

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[MUSIC] I worked on a boat to get over to Europe to work, to do a long stage at Francesco Nice. And I remember hitchhiking to [UNKNOWN]. I couldn't afford to eat there. I sat by the dumpsters to just watch and see the back of the kitchen [UNKNOWN]. And Chris pulls up in his Renault with a bunch of produce we was just at the market. And he's unloading. I did what any cook would do. I got up to help the chef unload. And we began to talk about where we were and why I was doing this. Before you know it Invite you in to lunch and to have this iconical meal next to the fireplace to have the braised chicken, beautiful chicken. Wow, you're lucky if you get to try the food of other chefs. If you wanna go and almost like pray to the temple, you wanna go there and you wanna say that you ate there, but the meal that always stands out for me was, I was six years old and I was in Japan with my family. Both my parents worked a ton. My dad was a newspaper publisher. I never got to see him and we rarely ate together. And this one morning, we are at a hotel in Japan, he wakes me up and says let's go eat. And he just takes me out in to this cold Dreary Tokyo morning and he walks me to this little hole in the wall down some alley, and he told me that's where the Japanese Tokyo cab drivers ate before their shift. And it was literally this counter with about 12 seats and all they serve was beef bowl. The danburi. The classic scheme, sweet rice. Thin slices of beef, whisked egg, a little bit of sweet soy sauce and onions. And he let me have an orange soda. And I can't tell you, I mean every bite was like crack. It was just, [LAUGH], it was the most delicious thing in my young life I ever put in my mouth. And it was so cold outside and this bowl of rice was just steaming and getting my cheek's all rosy. And I was slugging my orange soda. And I remember the view over my Dad's shoulder was the Japanese taxi cab's there all different color's there's orange, white, green there so colorful. The thing that made it most memorable for me was. I only got. I mean, for a little kid, it was a big portion. And, I got about halfway down and I spun around on my stool. To look outside at the taxi cabs. And, the guy, working behind the counter. This big sweaty guy. He took it away. He thought I was done. And I turned around and I wanted more. I was too full and I couldn't eat anymore, but still the fact that it was taken away from me was so unbelievable and for me I think that [UNKNOWN] nature, I just wanted that one more bite. But it might not have that same meaning to you now, you wanting this. No, I know but I think that When you talk about the principle that the idea behind a tasting menu is being. Just a couple bites and wanting to leave your guest. Wanting one more bite. I totally understand that now. For the rest of your life, you're like [LAUGH] I still want that one more bite. [LAUGH] I actually went to Tokyo to try that restaurant. Did you get close? No, that restaurant was long gone, I'm sure. I'm sure the emotion of being with your father on this really special time, and that he chose you that morning to share that moment with. That's right. That's this emotional calorie that we talked about. You have to have a relationship with your food and these emotional calories are deeply important to what we do. And so you have a thousand calories on the plate, you need to have another thousand calories of a relationship or emotion that goes with it. [MUSIC]
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Michael Chiarello & Sang Yoon: The Most Transformative Meal