Tuesday, 22 September 2015

People, Spain. Portrait. Itamae and apprentice



Un itamae (板前?) es un cocinero de cocina japonesa, jefe de cocina en grandes restaurantes. El término se puede traducir literalmente como "delante de la tabla", refiriéndose a la tabla de cortar.
Para ser considerado un itamae no es necesario ser japonés, aunque habitualmente se entiende que las técnicas de la cocina nipona son difíciles de aprender por parte de los no japoneses. El itamae siempre está vestido con su tradicional uniforme y con frecuencia lleva su cuchillo en la cintura.
Dave Lowry, en su libro "The connoisseur's guide to sushi: everything you need to know about sushi" describe cuatro criterios para juzgar a un buen itamae:
  • Cómo manipula los productos;
  • Cómo maneja sus utensilios, básicamente los cuchillos;
  • Cómo trata a sus clientes y
  • Cómo se comporta, se mueve y trabaja.



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Recuerde que haciendo click en la foto se ve a mayor tamaño

En (google translate)


An itamae (板前 a cook, chef) is a cook in a Japanese kitchen, or a chef in larger restaurants (esp. of high-end Japanese cuisine).
Dave Lowry, in his book "The Connoisseur' s Guide to Sushi: Everything You Need to Know About Sushi" describes four criteria to judge a good itamae:
  • How he handles the food;
  • How he handles his food utensils (basically his knives);
  • How he treats his clients and
  • How he behaves, moves and works.

Itamae as sushi chef

In the western world the itamae is often thought of with sushi (although they are commonly referred to simply as 'sushi chefs'). In Japan becoming an itamae of sushi requires years of on-the-job training and apprenticeship. Typically, after five years or so spent working with a master or teacher itamae, the apprentice is given his first important task related to making sushi: preparation of the sushi rice. The rice is prepared according to the strict instructions of the senior itamae, and each sushi restaurant has its own "secret" recipe of rice, salt and rice vinegar. Once the senior itamae is satisfied with the consistency of the sushi rice made daily by the apprentice, the apprentice may then be promoted.
This promotion puts the apprentice in a more prominent location, next to the senior itamae. This position is called "wakiita", that means "near the cutting board". The wakiita's duties expand to include daily preparation of the fresh ingredients, such as preparing blocks of fish, grating ginger, and slicing scallions. Eventually the apprentice might begin to prepare sushi for clients with take away orders. The wakiita also learns the proper ways to interact with and treat the restaurant's customers by observing the senior itamae.

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