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Photo Report of Professional Yakitori Course April 2022

After being suspended due to the COVID19 disaster, JCI's professional Yakitori lessons have resumed for the first time in almost two years!

We, the entire staff, have been looking forward to this day for a long time!

Here is a report on the Yakitori lesson with two students who live in Japan and are also cooking fanatics of cooking!

This Yakitori course will be a 5-day session (1 day for lecture and introduction and four days for practical onsite lessons).

Day 1: Orientation and lecture on Yakitori.

Day 2: Much hands-on training at different yakitori restaurants with different concepts.

Students were taught directly by the master onsite at a Yakitori restaurant on the first day at the Yakitori restaurant. Things are already heating up in the kitchen!

Preparation&Kushi-uchi(skewering): Chicken is a delicate food, and freshness is crucial. Careful preparation of chicken is critical. Preparation is the skill of a professional, and we learn it well. The one thing that both lessons have in common is that freshness is crucial for Yakitori. Chicken must be purchased as fresh as possible at a specialty poultry store, and after it is cut in the morning, it is prepped and prepared on the same day to not spoil the flavor of the flesh itself.

Salting: Grilled chicken is all about shaking salt! See, the students look like Yakitori shop owners in their salt-swinging posture. How cool is that!

Grilling: Students learn how to start a fire, adjust the flame, and learn grilling techniques. These adjustments determine whether the chicken will be crispy on the outside, fluffy and juicy inside, with a deep flavor. Practice to perfection! There is only repetitive practice!

Day 3: Lectures on buying techniques, food knowledge, and practical handson lesson.

JCI's Yakitori chef's uniforms finally arrived! The delivery was significantly delayed due to the COVID19. The Students in uniform look great!

At the store, students started preparing the vegetable skewers. Cooking and tasting, today they seasoned all the vegetable skewers and asparagus wrapped with pork with salt. The master dared not use the Tare(dipping sauce) to memorize the primary taste, the taste of the ingredients themselves, on the tongue.

Even the name "Yakitori" does not mean that only chicken is used. Pork, beef, and many kinds of vegetables are also skewered and grilled. Today, in addition to the different types of yakitori, students also learned about many kinds of pork yakitori. Tongue, heart, and all are cut, skewered, seasoned, and grilled differently. It is a showcase of professional skills.

Lunch on the second day was horse mackerel tataki. It was the first time for the students to take down a fish. They were pretty nervous. But once they master the basics, they will be able to handle a variety of fish. Have you managed to fillet the fish into three pieces: the head, bones, and tail as one part, the right and the left side of the body? This is called "Sanmai-oroshi(there piece filleting)." It means to cut the fish into three thin slices.

Once the fish is done, they lightly pound the meat with a knife to make it into a coarse mince to be easy to eat. All that remains is to garnish it with the backbone with the head attached and the condiments of green shiso, ginger, green onion, and voila! Pair that with shellfish miso soup and some white rice, and you have a traditional Japanese meal!

After the lesson, students visited Odawara Castle. The day was challenging with shopping, cooking, exploring history, and eating. It was a day of hard work for all of us.

Day 4: Preparing yakitori sauce and training for grilling

For morning shopping, the students took a long trip to a market and stocked up on fresh ingredients while receiving lectures on such things as Japanese garlic, which is the key ingredient in the sauce.

The lesson began with the preparation of the long-awaited Yakitori sauce, Tare. It is made by blending soy sauce, sake, mirin(cooking sake), garlic, and other ingredients. The white meat and liver prepared on the second day of the lesson were all grilled. They compared the taste of the grilled chicken with the sauce we prepared today and the chicken with the sauce that the teacher has been making for 40 years.