At age 23, Chef Daniel Drexler, Sous Chef at Bouley, is our youngest scholarship recipient, but he has plenty of experience in the kitchen. He talks to us about his introduction to Japanese ingredients and how being selected to participate in The Gohan Society’s U.S.-Japan Culinary Exchange Chefs Scholarship Program will benefit him.
“My most formative exposure to Japanese cuisine thus far has been the tutelage of Chef David Bouley,” says Chef Daniel. “At Bouley, we bake kudzu crackers. In the United States kudzu is considered an invasive and destructive vine, which is not normally eaten. However, Japan has realized that it has many healthful properties. I hope to find many more products such as this, which I would never normally use in New York. I would love nothing more than to come back to Bouley and teach my fellow chefs more about the process of fermentation. Currently, the American palate is just beginning to utilize miso, which has tremendous health benefits compared to many American ingredients. This cultural exchange is excellent, but it is just the first step! There are many other fermentation techniques I would like to learn, such as the use of nuka. Chef Yamada of our Brushstroke Restaurant has brought from his home nuka that is 100 years old and produced by his family in Japan. I wish to learn more about the techniques used to make this amazing product and share with my colleagues and the American public at Bouley.”
The four scholarship recipients – Chef Daniel; Suzanne Cupps, Chef de Cuisine at Untitled; Brother Luck, Chef/Owner of Brother Luck in Colorado Springs, CO; and Sara Woodward, Sous Chef at Le Bernardin – depart for their Japanese culinary adventure on July 30!