An artist chef straight from Japan
Our star Natsuko Shoji’s presentation began with a short speech, followed by a video. She spoke about her early beginnings and her interest in cooking, sculpture, and fashion. At first, Natsuko prepared food for her friends and family who often praised her. She mentioned that her life was not easy – her father passed away due to an alcohol problem, and her sister had health problems. It did not break her but gave her strength to develop.
Natsuko has always had an interest in carving fruit and vegetables. She said art and cooking work well together because art and cooking have a lot in common.
Afterwards we watched a movie straight from Japan presenting our speaker’s restaurant – Ete. Natsuko combines delicious taste, art, and fashion all at once in her desserts, cakes, and other dishes. She recalls that when she traveled abroad, she noticed that everyone in Japan was concerned with the details. It is a national trait. She also considered it her superpower! Our chef told us why she values craftsmanship so much. She believes that these are the only unique things that are created today. They are also made with the heart. Human hands cannot produce as many things as mass production. Thus, Natsuko’s works are dedicated to a small group of people. She wants people to know this and feel unique. For Natsuko, restaurant employees are not the only artists – farmers are artists, too.
Natsuko’s mission is also to show that women are great in the kitchen. She wants to make this world more feminine. During her speech, the chef mentioned that her signature dish is mango tart. She serves them all year round and considers Japanese mangoes to be an amazing fruit. Natsuko uses sustainable sources. It is very important to her and she only works with such farmers. They are proud that their mangoes are turned into art. They know that their fruit will be put to good use, for whatever our speaker touches turns to gold. Natsuko is also a school teacher. She not only teaches the art of cooking but also says a lot about sustainability.
At the end of her presentation, Natsuko showed us her signature mango dish. They were mango roses that looked like a real flower arrangement with an additional fruit decoration on top – nothing short of amazing! She also presented a view of Japanese and non-Japanese mangoes under a microscope. Their structure was completely different. This is real proof that Japanese mangoes have a more silky texture. It’s scientifically proven!
She showed how to make caviar mille-fauille. This presentation was a real feast for the spirit and it left us feeling full.