Hidekazu Tojo has become the most innovative Japanese chef in Canada, if not one of the top in the world. Opened in 1988, Tojo’s Restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia has gained an international reputation for creating and producing contemporary styled sushi and Japanese style entrées by using local and regional West Coast seasonal ingredients.
Tojo was born in post-war Japan and as a young man he travelled to Osaka where he apprenticed at Onaya, a famously traditional Riyokan. During years of 16 hour days it was there that he perfected his uncanny skill for selecting the best and freshest fish. Recognizing his own passion for innovation and inventiveness which was leading him beyond the conventional expectations of mainstream Japanese cuisine, Tojo chose to come to North America, where he felt that a multicultural population without preconceptions would be more receptive to his ideas. He immigrated to Canada in 1971 and quickly gained a strong reputation for his inventive style of Japanese Cuisine. He has created over 40 different styles of innovative sushi using local Canadian ingredients and changes his menus seasonally throughout the year.
Tojo’s food has been served to many visiting celebrities, musicians and dignitaries including the Imperial Emperor and Empress of Japan, the Royal Princes William and Harry, and various Prime Ministers. He has also hosted numerous international renowned chefs such as Michelin starred chefs Santi Santamaria of Spain and Michel Roux and the Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver, both from England. Not to forget as well, the famed American lifestyles guru, Martha Stewart, who filmed a whole show on Tojo’s Restaurant for her syndicated Martha Stewart Living Series. He has been filmed by numerous television programs from Canada, the US (CNN International), Japan, New Zealand, England and Germany.
Tojo has also worked with Anthony Bourdain, Judy Rogers of San Francisco’s famed Zuni Café, Kevin Davis of Seattle’s Oceanaire and Maria Hines and Sue McGowan of the W Hotel Seattle along with other celebrity chefs, for various charities, wine dinners and promotions. He has been to various culinary events worldwide including New York, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle, Calgary, Dubai and most recently Beaver Creek for Bon Appetit Magazine’s Celebrity Chefs Ski Weekend.
|1||small Geoduck from Canada|
|1||small onion, finely sliced|
|1 cup (250 mL)||rice vinegar|
|2 Tbsp (30 mL)||sugar|
|2 tsp (10 mL)||salt|
|1||large mango, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch/1.25 cm by 3-inch/7.5 cm batons|
|1||apple (Gala or Fuji), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch/0.5 cm by 3-inch/7.5 cm julienne|
|1/2 each||carrot and Japanese or English cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch/0.5 cm by 3-inch/7.5 cm julienne|
|1 cup (250 mL)||mesclun greens, tightly packed|
|12 pieces||Dungeness crab leg meat|
|12||large steamed mussels, shells removed|
|2||shiso leaves, finely shredded|
|8||canola flowers, steamed (optional)|
Cut siphon section from geoduck and blanch in salted boiling water for 15 seconds to loosen outer skin. Immerse in ice water bath, peel off skin, rinse well and dry. Slice thinly into 1/4-inch/0.5 cm slices.
In a non-reactive mixing bowl, mix together sliced onion, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Add sliced geoduck and mix well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours minimum or overnight.
In a mixing bowl, combine mango, apple, carrot, cucumber and mesclun salad; add a small amount of geoduck marinade and toss well. Divide and pile a portion of the greens onto four serving plates and top with a portion of mango, apple, carrot and cucumber mixture. Add Dungeness crab meat and mussels to geoduck and marinade, toss well then arrange on top of each salad. Garnish with shredded shiso and canola flowers and serve.
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