Shino Takeda, Ceramic Artist + Manager at Blue Ribbon Sushi Brooklyn
Have you ever wondered what it's like to have two artists in the kitchen? We didn't quite know what to expect when we visited Shino and her husband Jared over the summer, but we certainly left being blown away. They didn't seem to miss a beat in bringing creativity into their everyday meals - who knew homemade "sorbet" could be as easy as whizzing together a bag of frozen mixed berries and a bit of high quality olive oil in a blender? Shino recalled a childhood memory where her mother determined the meal after allowing Shino and her and sister to choose among a variety of plates first - a fun and carefree approach to food that Shino still follows to this day. I guess that's to be expected when you put paramount focus on both flavor and aesthetics.
Read on for Shino's most-trusted kitchen utensil and to peep her beautiful craftsmanship!
How has working at Blue Ribbon Sushi affected your knowledge and appreciation of food?
I came to Blue Ribbon Sushi with a rich appreciation of food, which I learned from my mother in Japan. Blue Ribbon has allowed me to eat high quality food and share my love of food and its culture with others.
How would you describe your food aesthetic/cooking style?
I enjoy cooking simple small dishes. I prefer to use local and/or seasonal ingredients when possible. Presentation is as important to me as the meal itself. So the perfect meal is the right balance of aesthetic presentation with simple fresh ingredients.
What are your favorite dishes/treats to make at home for you and your husband?
We get into different ingredients a lot and like to experiment. We just came back from Hawaii so right now we are eating a lot of pineapple, nuts, and macaroni salad. Great summer food. We have also been making lots of beets, it's amazing what you can do with the rich color of beet juice!
Your go-to dish that's sure to draw raves from guests?
I have so many! I love steamed pearl onions with a touch of red miso and a sprinkle of green tea sea salt (pictured above).
What's your idea of a perfect dinner party?
A great dinner party makes the diner feel like they are having a unique experience. So the perfect dinner party would consist of several courses of many small dishes, with handmade plates made specifically for the diners. I've only done this partially with cups and plates before. I've never had the chance to do it for the complete meal.
Favorite kitchen utensils or gadgets?
For me, my saibashi (or cooking chopsticks) are key. I can use them for anything (including tasting). I even bring them with me when I travel.
Where do you shop for kitchen supplies?
Everywhere and anywhere, including Sunrise Mart and Mitsuwa for Japanese ingredients.
Top pantry essentials in your kitchen?
Sea salt and different types of oils. The more variety, the better.
Do you have a secret (perhaps foreign) ingredient you love to use?
I love to use pumpkin seed oil from Austria. No one ever expects it, or can place the taste. And it has great color! (Editor's note: The oil used here was La Tourangelle Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil.)
That is one smooth cup of joe and an even snazzier gadget - what kind of coffee maker is that exactly?
This is a Japanese siphon coffee maker.
Who is your biggest food inspiration?
Which chefs/food producers do you admire and why?
All the farmer's market people because they use the most simplest and the freshest food.
Do you have a tasty hole-in-the-wall you'd be willing to share?
Pillow on Myrtle Avenue, they have an awesome veggie burger.
What are your favorite cookbooks/blogs/sites?
Japanese cook books because they have many pictures! I don't like to read recipes. I like to see a picture and imagine what it tastes like.
What do you like to listen to while you cook?
Whatever Jared is listening to at the time. (Editor's note: At the time of shooting, lots of Tom Tom Club :))
Whose pantry would you like to raid?
Anders Nielsen Barsoe, a fantastic Danish chef based in Copenhagen and our loving friend!
Where can we find your beautiful work?
My blog: shinosworld.blogspot.com
Ceramics are available:
Greenhouse, 387 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Nightwood, 111 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY
And starting this past summer, the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene.
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Shino's Mixed Mushroom and Sea Urchin Risotto
1.5 cups Japanese rice
Approximately 1-2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Morel mushrooms
1 cup Chanterelle mushrooms
Pinch [pink] salt
2.5-3 cups water
1 cup sake, divided in half
1 bouillon cube
1 package sea urchin/uni, divided in half (Shino loves the seafood department at Eataly)
1. Toast rice in pan with generous amount of extra virgin olive oil until transparent over medium-low heat.
2. Drop in mushrooms and saute with a pinch of [pink] salt.
3. Slowly add water while mixing with a wooden spoon. Cook and let most of the water absorb.
4. Add half a cup of sake to the rice-mushroom mixture, allowing it to absorb. Add the other half cup.
5. While continuously stirring, add the bouillon cube and mix in well.
6. You are not looking for al dente in this recipe. When the rice is finally done (about 15-20 minutes), put in half of the uni into the rice-mushroom mixture, mix through. Plate out the rice in pretty bowls and top with the other half of the uni.
Thanks again, Shino and Jared, for the gorgeous lunch and letting us peek into your pantry!