Welcome to the Hidden Gems: A culinary art gallery, where superior product quality meets extreme design aesthetics, dedicated to presenting an exclusive selection of interiors, premium products, contemporary applied arts, culinary art and creative people from around the world, as selected by the editors.
A column where we also merge fine dining with stimulating conversations, where ideas and thoughts are exchanged, savoring the pleasure of an in-depth discussion with remarkable personalities and get to know their work and experiences that shaped their lives.
Satsuma-yaki for Tsukino-mushi Satsuma-yaki is a type of ceramic ware from Kagoshima Prefecture, originating in the times of Lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598A.D.). It is generally divided into two types: the white shirosatsuma, with its luxurious hand-paintings, and the black kurosatsuma, designed more for daily use with its simplicity and solidity. The entire piece demonstrates the effect of kannyu; a method whereby cracks are intentionally formed due to a difference in the rate of contraction between the ceramic and the enamel. Pigmented ink is then poured onto the cracks from inside of the container, and pushed through with different concentrations of colour, creating gradated hints of black oozing through the basic white surface. These four bowls can be piled up inside one another in a neat, nesting fashion.
Mindfully farmed on the island paradise of Mauritius, Mighty rice is as extraordinary as the land. It is grown in the richest volcanic soil on pristine, family-owned farms and fed by pure rainwater and mountain streams. Produced with the greatest respect for your health, sustainability of the planet and the prosperity of our farmers and our community, mighty rice not only tastes better but feels better. Mousegraphics said: “.. A mighty combination between the stated, the symbolic and the imaginary emerged. The essence of the island and the grain -the basic unit of every rice production- are rendered visible through clear, dynamic albeit elegant, transparent, duo-chromatic (b&w), non-folkloric design choices.”
‘Miin’ is a Korean traditional rice wine brewery at Paju, a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. Haeng-sook Choi, the master of the brewery produces Miin Yakju (clear rice wine), Miin Takju (turbid rice wine), and Ahwang-ju. ContentFormContext created “Miin Brewery Map” with sophisticated curved lines to deliver images of beauty while brewery’s branding was inspired by old maps from Joseon Dynasty designed with Chinese characters.
Rice wine, also known as mijiu, is the eastern alcoholic beverage made from rice, originated from China. Unlike European wine, which is made by fermentation of naturally occurring sugars in sweet grapes and other fruit, rice wine is made from the fermentation of rice starch that has been converted to sugars. It is generally clear and somewhat sweet, like its Japanese counterpart sake. Its alcohol content ranges between 12% and 20%. The process is somewhat similar to the mashing process used in beer and whiskey production but differs in the source of the enzymes that convert starch to sugars. In rice and other cereal wines, microbes are the source of the enzymes whereas beer, ale and whiskey production utilizes the enzymes naturally occurring in sprouted barley.
Koichi was born in the Aichi prefecture in Nagoya and began his gastronomic career as many 20-year-old Japanese boys do – washing dishes. His first job saw him visit the local fish market daily with his sushi master. After two years, Koichi was allowed to prepare food by his side; but it was only after five years as an apprentice that he was permitted to serve customers face-to-face. Later he moved to Yotsume as a sushi chef, also in Nagoya. He spent three years there before being transferred to Kenzan in Melbourne in 1998. Koichi remained at Kenzan until 2013, accepting the position of head sushi maker during his last few years there. Now, with his family honour tied to his namesake 40-seater restaurant, Koichi’s goal is simple: to fill each customer with joy through the art of sushi.
Minimashima is the most intimate Japanese dining experience in Melbourne. The philosophy behind omakase involves placing utter faith in the integrity of the chef and handing over all decision-making. This trust between diner and chef results in a personalised experience: Koichi will continue to share the origin of ingredients and traditional etiquette with new guests, while also recalling returning visitors’ favourite pieces. English may be Koichi’s second language, but he is fluent in the sushi bar exchange. Koichi adopts a humble approach at Minimashima, where tradition is followed instead of trends to bestow Melbourne with a genuine taste of Japan.
Those who partake in the 15 course sushi omakase at the bar will have every nuance explained to them as each piece is served one at a time, from how to eat it to the story behind the ingredients. The alternative is traditional table service, where diners receive a few dishes to begin, followed by 10 pieces of sushi, and finally, wagashi – a Japanese dessert reflective of the seasons. Produce is local where possible, but Koichi wasn’t willing to limit his offering based on what was available in Melbourne. He spent many months traveling around Japan sourcing ingredients impossible to find on home soil. Seafood comes both from local shores as well as the renowned Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo; vinegar for his secret-recipe rice hails from his home in Nagoya; and salt has traveled from Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan.