Welcome to this issue of our Newsletter.
As many of you are aware, a fierce earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's eastern coast Friday, hundreds of lives have been lost. The Green Teaist sends their deepest condolences to the victims and families affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The Japan America Society of Chicago is taking donations and they will update everyone on where all donations will be going. At their request, please make checks out to The Japan America Society of Chicago and note "Earthquake Relief" on the check.
Japan America Society of Chicago
20 N. Clark Street, Suite 750
Chicago, IL 60602
Tel (312) 263-3049
Fax (312) 263-6120
|Tea Fields in Japan at the base of Mount Fuji.|
The Green Teaist at Macy's for a Culinary Experience
|JETRO hosted the "Greens from the Sea" event at Macy's Culinary Studio, in Chicago.|
On Wednesday, March 9, 2011, The Green Teaist participated in a unique Japanese Food Showcase, held at Macy's Culinary Studio in Chicago. The event was hosted by JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), and supported by the Japan America Society and the City of Osaka, Chicago Office.
Three prominent local chefs participated in the event including Chef Takashi Yagihashi, Chef Jimmy Bannos and Chef William Kim. They demonstrated and prepared a variety of dishes using seaweed based products. To compliment these unique dishes, The Green Teaist served Iced Hojicha and Kukicha, two exquisite green teas from Kyoto, Japan.
|(L to R) Chef Jimmy Bannos, Chef Takashi Yagihashi, and Chef William Kim demonstrate their culinary creations.|
The theme of the event was "Greens from the Sea" and each chef prepared dishes using the highlighted ingredients. It was fascinating to see how each chef, with their unique cooking styles, used everything from Kombu, edible kelp, to Nori, an edible seaweed species of red algae, to Kanten, also known as agar-agar - which is a natural gelatin made from tengusa, a unique red seaweed found in the seas around Japan.
|(L to R) Sharon Grandy and Thomas Schroeder look on during Chef Jimmy Bannos' demonstration.|
Chef Takashi Yagihashi introduced the group to a variety of different seaweeds. The audience included culinary students, chef instructors, reporters from local publications, restaurant and hotel food and beverage managers, and industry professionals. The chefs demonstrated a wide variety of uses for these distinctive ingredients, which are not limited to only Japanese cuisine. Chef Jimmy Bannos demonstrated that Kanten can even be used to make his signature chicken and sausage gumbo. Chef Takashi Yagihashi made a beautiful presentation with his lychee kingyoku with sweet red beans and lemongrass-ginger syrup and Chef William Kim demonstrated how simple it can be to make a broth using Kombu.
The highlight for The Green Teaist was getting the chance to meet so many people interested in premium green teas from Japan. There was great appreciation and interest for the exquisite variety of green teas that The Green Teaist has to offer.
|Chef Thomas Shroeder and General Manager Sharon Grandy serve and answer queries about TGT premium green teas.|
Sharon Grandy, General Manager of the Lake Forest location, spoke to the group and answered questions before and after the demonstrations. Thomas Schroeder, TGT Culinary Services, assisted in preparing and serving the teas and also responded to queries from the participants.
|(L to R) Chef Takashi Yagihashi looks on as Sharon Grandy, Lake Forest General Manager, speaks at JETRO Macy's Event.|
The Green Teaist in the News
TGT Lake Forest was Featured in the Pioneer Press
The Green Teaist was recently featured in the Pioneer Press in the article, "Destination: Lake Forest," by Nicole Frehsee, also see the "Photo Gallery" section of the article for more stunning shots of TGT by Suzanne Tennant.
|Photo Credit: Suzanne Tennant~for Sun-Times Media|
The article highlights some of the local business in Lake Forest, IL, The Green Teaist numbering among the chosen few to be featured. We at the Green Teaist are very pleased to have been noted!
|The Green Teaist Library|
(The Green Teaist offers the most extensive collection of books on teas around the world, their history, provenance, practices and customs, with emphasis on the green teas of Japan.You may wish to browse the more than 30 titles at TGT Lake Forest and a more limited collection at TGT Beverly Hills. We will review each book in our expanding collection and, perhaps, interest you in expanding your understanding of teas.)
New Tastes in Green Tea: A Novel Flavor for Familiar Drinks, Dishes, and Desserts, Mutsuko Tokunaga, 127 pp, Published by: Kodansha America Inc: 2004, $25.00.
'New Tastes in Green Tea', by Mutsuko Tokunga, distinguishes itself in the world of tea literature by being both an accessible introduction to the world of green teas exclusively from Japan and a sensibly modern cookbook. In addition to offering up history, brewing instructions, and numerous recipes, 'New Tastes in Green Tea' is full of charming proverbs and anecdotes concerning this most versatile beverage. The value of this work lies in its ability to sum up the spirit of green tea from Japan while avoiding the more esoteric and philosophically complex aspects of "Teaism" (the "Way of Tea" as practiced in Japan) that some might find intimidating.
The book begins with an invaluable guide to the types of Japanese green teas and the accompanying variety of tea utensils. This section should be of particular interest to TGT customers, as our L'Atelier provides most of these strikingly artistic items for sale. Tokunga asserts that one of the most important elements in tea drinking is simply having a feeling for the utensils, and using them carefully; this reminds the reader that the appreciation of green tea depends upon sensitivity towards such accouterments as they are indeed an essential part of the aesthetic and enjoyment of green tea.
The second part of the book provides in depth information concerning the cultivation, processing and history of Japanese green teas. A close reading of this section would behoove all of TGT's customers, as the connoisseurship of our tea is only enhanced by familiarity with what exactly distinguishes the green teas of Japan from the rest of the world's teas. Tokunga's astute treatment of the steaming/rolling/drying process in particular reminds green tea drinkers of the extraordinary effort, finesse, and ingenuity that go into every cup of green tea.
According to Tokunga, green tea plays in integral part in life's three major pleasures; drinking, eating and cooking. Amongst the plethora of recipes, TGT customers will recognize some familiar favorites offered up in our Salon de Thé including dairy infused tea drinks such as a matcha latte, in addition to matcha whipped cream, and matcha infused cream cheese. Tokunga's wide range of creative recipes run the gamut from savory to sweet, displaying the seemingly unlimited culinary potential of camellia sinensis, ranging from baked goods to soups to desserts.
Amongst the small collection of proverbs that gracefully end the book, one in particular stands out as indicative of TGT's philosophy: "Ocha to jo wa koigoi to" which translates as "Tea and the heart are better strong and deep,"(126). An attentive reading of 'New Tastes in Green Tea' should help TGT's customers to better understand our mission in providing a green tea experience that follows the wisdom of the aforementioned quote and does justice to this most pure and hallowed beverage.
From The Corporate Office
TGT Partners with JETRO for Beverly Hills Event
On Friday, February 25, 2011, at the Beverly Hilton, an unusual culinary event took place.
JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) hosted a unique cooking demonstration featuring Executive Chef Katsuo Sugiura, who is famed for his inventive cuisine served at the Golden Globes, Oscar and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) dinners and many other celebrity events.
The theme was "Healthier Alternative Recipes," focusing on utilizing several natural ingredients from Japan which have virtually no calories or carbohydrates.
One of the most popular items prepared by Chef Suki was Gazpacho with Aromatic Vegetable Jelly, Organic Greens with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The essential ingredient was kanten, which is an unusual red seaweed-based gelatin found in the sea around Japan. The Gazpacho was formed as an aspic with a delicious garnish. The audience of experienced chefs and experts from the food industry were amazed at the flavors and even more impressed with achieving such great taste while providing a healthier alternative to other more traditional western ingredients.
In addition, there were seven other great dishes prepared by Chef Suki, all using natural, vegetarian ingredients which are mainstays in Japanese cooking, but little known or used in combination with traditional western ingredients. Chef Suki created a cultural merger between Japanese and American culinary traditions, including a Hijiki Ragout Crostini, featuring another type of seaweed from Japan, a Konnyaku Carpaccio, featuring a product made from Japanese yam, Nama-Yuba Carpaccio, featuring the thin sheets of soy which remain in the making of tofu and, for a finale, a Toro-Yuba with Marinated Berries and Pomegranate, which also utilized these elegant sheets of soy.
The Green Teaist was honored to be requested to participate in this event in which we paired these offerings, all of which were sampled by the audience, with our famous fine green teas of Japan, including Genmaicha, Hojicha and Kukicha. Anna Diaz, the Beverly Hills General Manager, served the teas and answered questions about what makes TGT teas so special.
Speaking of our Beverly Hills location, Aubrey Konrath, our graphics designer, created a new map showing the location of the Beverly Hilton, where we are located on the lobby level, at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, as shown below. As they say, "You can't miss it!" We hope you won't miss visiting TGT at the Beverly Hilton when you are in Southern California.