Meet the Japanese chef, who does not stir the food in boiling oil - he uses his BARE HANDS

Meet the Japanese chef, who does not stir the food in boiling oil - he uses his BARE HANDS

"Do not try this at home!" I am warned by a passerby when the Japanese chef I am watching suddenly plunges his hand into a pan of boiling cooking oil.

Shuji Niitokme, 44, is considered one of Japan's top chefs when it comes to tempura (seafood or dough-dipped vegetables and fried vegetables). A tasting menu at its eponymous 10-seat restaurant in Nagoya city costs £ 240 per person.

The culinary fraud tells me that he was fascinated by Tempura as a teenager for the first time and after dipping his fingers in hot oil for more than two decades to make sure the temperature is perfect – he is not in pain anymore.

Scroll down for video

Shuji Niitokme, 44, is considered one of Japan's top chefs when it comes to tempura (seafood or vegetables dipped in dough and fried)

Shuji Niitokme, 44, is considered one of Japan's top chefs when it comes to tempura (seafood or vegetables dipped in dough and fried)

A tasting menu at the eponymous 10-seat Niitokme restaurant in Nagoya city costs £ 240 per person

A tasting menu at the eponymous 10-seat Niitokme restaurant in Nagoya city costs £ 240 per person

Shuji Niitokme, 44, is considered one of Japan's top chefs when it comes to tempura (seafood or dough-dipped vegetables and fried vegetables). A tasting menu at its eponymous 10-seat restaurant in Nagoya city costs £ 240 per person

The culinary giddy says he was fascinated by Tempura for the first time as a teenager, and after immersing his fingers in oil for more than two decades to make sure he had the perfect temperature - he has no more pain

The culinary giddy says he was fascinated by Tempura for the first time as a teenager, and after immersing his fingers in oil for more than two decades to make sure he had the perfect temperature - he has no more pain

The culinary giddy says he was fascinated by Tempura as a teenager for the first time and after immersing his fingers in oil for more than two decades to make sure it's at the perfect temperature – he's not in pain anymore

The funny chef, who wears socks and flip flops while cooking, laughs and shows me his hands.

You look pretty sore, with yellow skin around his fingernails that are a bit crying, but Niitokme sees no cause for concern and returns.

I watch the eccentric mood at Yashin Ocean House, a restaurant in Kensington, London, which All Nippon Airways has hired in partnership with Foodblog Luxeat as the venue for a culinary festival of Japanese cuisine.

Niitokme, one of the ten chefs at the event, says he flew over from Japan with his favorite tempura pan.

Niitokme reveals his hands that have been pretty much beaten in the kitchen over the years

Niitokme reveals his hands that have been pretty much beaten in the kitchen over the years

Niitokme reveals his hands that have been pretty much beaten in the kitchen over the years

Niitokme says he likes to listen to the bubbles and hiss his pan, as this indicates when the tempura is ready

Niitokme says he likes to listen to the bubbles and hiss his pan, as this indicates when the tempura is ready

Niitokme says he likes to listen to the bubbles and hiss his pan, as this indicates when the tempura is ready

He also traveled with some of his essential ingredients, including his special tempura flour, which he cooled for two days before cooking at -50 degrees Celsius, so it dissolves better in the dough.

Not only does Niitokme use his hands, but also stainless steel chopsticks to turn the bites while sheathing them with oil and batter.

The culinary pro says he likes to listen to the bubbles and hiss his pan, as this indicates when the tempura is ready.

One of his fans, Nanako Murakami, Marketing Manager at All Nippon Airways, tells me that she loves Niitokmes Tempura because it melts like snow in the mouth.

Niitokme was trained for years before becoming self-employed and opened his own restaurant in 2013

Niitokme was trained for years before becoming self-employed and opened his own restaurant in 2013

Niitokme was trained for years before becoming self-employed and opened his own restaurant in 2013

Since Niitokme was in London, he decided to cook with some ingredients that are not available in Japan, including Portobello mushrooms and celeriac.

He then visited fish markets in the city to get the freshest prawns, crabs and clams he could find.

After tasting a selection of his goods, I can confirm that their texture is extremely light, though much tastier than snow!

I think what fascinates Niitokme is the passion and dedication he has for what he does.

And after seeing his burned and crying hands, he is certainly a cook who suffers for his art.

Leave a comment

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.