"Mottainai is about more than just food—it’s a way of appreciating and utilizing everything you have.”

By Jamie Feldmar
Updated May 24, 2017
© Scott Gordon Bleicher

You could call Yuji Haraguchi the Marie Kondo of the food world. The Brooklyn chef takes the art of decluttering and resourcefulness to the next level by championing the ancient Japanese philosophy of mottainai—which means “waste not, want not”—at his hot spots Okonomi, Yuji Ramen and his new sustainable fish market Osakana. He’s bringing such attention to the mindful approach that the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Kanagawa, Japan, has invited him to serve his zero-waste ramen there in March. Here are three ways to bring a little mottainai to your kitchen.

1. Use it all.

Haraguchi suggests buying whole fish so you can make stock from the bones and head.

2. Streamline.

Use one tool for everything. He suggests a double-edged, eight-inch gyuto chef’s knife.

3. Beautify.

Handmade dishes (his come from Connecticut potter Jordan Colón) honor the food on the plate.