Today’s Pop Up was with Katsuya Fukushima. I was especially interested in this Pop Up as we are both Academie de Cuisine graduates. I chatted a bit with him before going into the dining tent and it turns out that we also shared the Jeff Buben experience as our first chef to work for coming out of Culinary School. Katsuya’s talent really emerged when he began working for Jose Andres at Jaleo. He said Andres was a true mentor. Apparently Ferran would come to the restaurant all the time. Katsuya also staged at El Bulli and was probably working the night I ate there in 2001.
Alex Talbot from Ideas in Food joined our table at the last minute and he gave me the best tip I received all congress. He saw I was struggling to get the right exposure for my camera and he pulled out his phone and used the flashlight application to add lighting to a shot. Perfect. I realized I also have this application on my phone so I should be able to take better shots in low light conditions from now on.
Next came a cabbage roll filled with Australian beef which was super tasty and some pickled cucumber and clams in a bowl.
Then he served a fire roasted Japanese eggplant with a lamb Goma sauce. The final two dishes were an amazing crispy pork belly and Unigiri or rice ball with sea urchin.
As you can see by the plethora of dishes that this was substantially more than Jordan put out. Katsuya put out an amazing menu representative of the new restaurant he is opening in DC called Daikaya which will feature Ramen and traditional Izakaya style menu.
I recommend signing up for these if they do them again next year as they are a bargain at $25. They also had some pastry pop up going on at roughly the same time and you could really make an amazing meal out of doing both in a day. I’m sure they will work the kinks out of where they hold these Pop Ups and hopefully find a more serene part of the building so participants can really enjoy it without the distractions of the rest of the Congress.