Life Topic LIFESTYLE

專訪吉兆割烹壽司 | 日料壽司職人 許文杰 A Japanese Itamae

「這13年真心不容易。」堅持十年,三年前沉穩的信念為他摘下這顆星,今年42歲的許文杰,高中16歲開始半工半讀,讀到一半後扎根進入廚藝的世界,熱衷專研日料,學習日文只求更準確提煉出其精髓,追求極致日料匠心。

TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang

日式風情空間設計,端坐於此享用一道道日料盛宴。
With a Japanese-styled interior design, sit in and enjoy a selection of the best sushi courses.

極簡日式美學

低調藏身於忠孝東路的小巷上,昏暗柔和的燈光,延伸性的空間襯托日式京都美學,看似未經雕琢,卻處處都是玄機。店名取名為吉兆割烹壽司,是由日本朋友幫忙取的,「吉兆」二字更寓意吉祥幸運之意,logo標誌性圖案採用了日本富士山意象,由哥哥親自操刀設計凸顯日式風情。視覺延伸到料理台背後木製熟成冰箱,說起這段往事,許文杰說當初上門求日本公認的老師傅製作,考察過關後需要經過數次裝潢變更,最後一次老師傅離台前留下一句話,「用我的冰箱,一定都要拿米其林」,這份無形的壓力轉換成他數多年來的使命與堅持。

鑽研握壽司手法,讓食客品嘗可口壽司的心意。
Studying the best culinary skills to offer the taste of the most heartfelt temaki.

專研壽司魂

對於努力的執著,沒有捷徑,現在天天握著幾百顆壽司依然需要反覆練習,許文杰強調,「不帶情感的壽司,客人是吃的出來。」坐在那裡,靜靜地觀賞他刀工下流露出的專業技藝,刀起刀落間,一份美食悄然而至,壽司的口感如同春日的櫻花般短暫,最佳味道只在轉瞬之間,讓食客享受到壽司最完美口感,或許這就是為何他喜歡堅持做壽司的緣故。年輕時期曾在台北知名壽司店「高玉」學藝,人稱ken桑的壽司大師是他一生重要的貴人,「做菜跟做人一樣,認為是對的就要持續做下去。」用心品味,如今的他保持著這份初衷,大海深處,魚在海裡悠游,褐色檜木上放置著壽司的陶瓷盤,如同一件藝術品,或許他想將店內的所有都做到這份極致美。

日料真食味

走過十餘載,處於風頭浪尖不願被後浪推倒,開業至今一天沒有鬆懈過,許文杰眼神流露著堅毅,「很感謝一路走來支持我們的客人。」每日更新無菜單料理,「omakase—委託」更是吉兆最大的特點,因人而異貼心的客製化,滿足食客味蕾上的感動。藉由出國考察多吃、多學、多交朋友,時時洞察日本飲食思想與鮮味食材,從未忘過料理思考,百米之外的街道依然車流湧動,在不久的將來他希望有機會與鮨天本來一場日料職人聯手合作,創作出更多的料理火花,找到藏在食物裡不畏時光流逝的一份真心。

📍吉兆割烹壽司

地址:台北市大安區忠孝東路四段181巷48號

電話:02-27711020

The Minimalist Japanese Aesthetic

Hidden within the alleys of Zhongxiao East Road, Kitcho shines with dim, soft lighting. Its extensive interior reflects a Kyoto-styled aesthetic that at a first glance, may appear to be simple, and yet, it is full of surprises. The name “Kitcho” was actually given by a Japanese friend wishing fortune and prosperity. Designed by the chef’s older brother, the restaurant logo draws inspiration from the famous Mount Fuji and emphasizes a traditional Japanese ambience. Speaking of the wooden dry-age fridge sitting behind the counter, Jay recounts how he personally visited a renowned sensei in Japan to ask him to design one for his restaurant. After repeated inspection and interior changes, the sensei told Jay before leaving Taiwan, “With my fridge, you have to receive the Michelin honor.” Perhaps it was this intangible pressure that transformed into his many years of diligence and conviction, like a beacon that guided him towards success.

Specializes in Sushi

There are no shortcuts when it comes to perseverance. “Customers can easily tell when you serve them food made with no emotions,” Jay emphasized, which is why even after years of making sushi, he still believes that constant practicing is a necessity. Sitting in front of the counter, watching him demonstrate his excellent knife skills—in between each cut and slice, a plate of deliciousness is born. The taste of sushi is fleeting like a springtime sakura, the best part only dances on the tongue in the blink of an eye. To let his guests enjoy the best flavour is perhaps Jay’s reason why he insists on making sushi, and sushi only. In his earlier days, he worked at another renowned Taipei sushi restaurant, Kougyoku, and learned from itamae, Ken-san, who will forever be an important influence. Ken-san once told him, “Cooking is very similar to life, if you believe this is the right thing, then keep doing it.” Lived by this belief ever since, Jay continues to work towards bringing only perfection to his customers—like the polished brown cypress counter, the emerald porcelain sushi plates, the best quality fish that once swam freely in the ocean. There is simply no room for imperfection.

The Truest Flavour

Though acclaimed as one of the best amidst all sushi restaurants, Jay had never allowed himself to slacken over the past ten years. Eyes beaming with conviction, he wants to thank all the customers who had shown their unwavering support. Constantly changing the menu, Kitcho’s specialty is in “omakase,” which also means trust in Japanese—dining at Kitcho becomes a personalized experience that still promises a flavorful sensation. Continuing to explore innovative dishes while traveling and making connections along the way, he perceives the changing Japanese culinary concept and tries to find new ingredients to work with. And yet, he had never forgotten why he started cooking. When asked about his future plans, Jay wishes to collaborate with Sushi Amamoto in the hopes of producing more novel dishes and finding the heartfelt sincerity that will endure through time.

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