Celebrity Chef Aoki Toshikatsu to Reveal Evolution of Sushi at FUMI

FUMI, a new restaurant in California Tower dedicated to celebrating the best of Japanese culture, is delighted to host Japanese celebrity chef Aoki Toshikatsu, of the acclaimed Ginza SUSHI AOKI in Tokyo, from April 19 to 21. For three days only, the second-generation chef-owner will be offering guests a chance to try both his lunch and dinner menus, which showcase his deep knowledge of Edomae-style sushi and the meticulous technique behind it. Dishes from both menus will be prepared tableside by Chef Aoki, so that every diner will get the chance to interact with Chef Aoki and learn about the evolution of sushi and observe the craft that goes into every single piece. Chef Aoki is the first guest chef to be invited to FUMI, which is committed to educating diners about Japanese culture and traditions through the country’s food and drink.
The art of sushi making runs in Chef Aoki’s family. As a young child, Chef Aoki would spend his school holidays helping in his father’s restaurant, where he’d obsessively watch the chefs at work. After university, Chef Aoki spent years honing his craft at Ginza SUSHI AOKI and YOSHINO in Kyobashi, the same restaurant that trained acclaimed chef Jiro Ono, who’s often hailed as the greatest sushi chef alive. At the age of just 29, Chef Aoki took over from his father as head chef at Ginza SUSHI AOKI. After successfully leading the restaurant for several years, Chef Aoki opened a second branch of Ginza SUSHI AOKI in Tokyo’s buzzing Nishi-Azabu district in 2007. He is now a celebrity chef in Japan and has been featured on several national TV shows.
Ginza SUSHI AOKI has always been revered for its Edomae-style sushi – a tradition that Aoki has proudly continued. Edomae-style sushi was historically made with seafood fished from Tokyo Bay (“Edomade” literally translates as “in front of Tokyo”, referring to the sea), but nowadays Chef Aoki chooses the best fish from around Japan. As Edo-era (1603–1868) sushi chefs did not have refrigerators, they had to devise innovative methods to give their dishes longer shelf life. Through trial and error, chefs discovered that fermenting and marinating certain ingredients kept them fresh and added to the flavour, and the inclusion of fermented or cured seafood remains the defining feature of Edomae-style sushi to this day. All seafood used in Edomae-style sushi is wild rather than farmed and popular ingredients include simmered eel and clam, pickled mackerel and cooked squid and prawn. This Edomae-style sushi is the forefather of the tuna-and-rice or salmon-and-rice sushi that most people know and love today.
At FUMI from April 19 to 21, Chef Aoki, together with FUMI’s Executive Chef Masakazu George Imai, will present a lunch menu (HK$ 1,380 + 10% service charge) and a dinner menu (HK$ 2,550 + 10% service charge) that include both traditional Edomae-style sushi and more modern interpretations of the dish, revealing how sushi has evolved over time. So that diners can appreciate the craft Chef Aoki puts into every piece, he will make some of the sushi tableside from a custom made cart, right in front of guests’ eyes.
The lunch menu features 12 pieces of modern nigiri sushi: Marinated Tuna wrapped in Seaweed, Toro, Kohada, Kinmedai Yushimo, Prawn with Vinegared Egg Yolk, Akagai, Akagai Gunkan Sushi, Nodoguro with Dried Mullet Roe, Mackerel wrapped in Seaweed, two kinds of Sea Urchin and simmered Hamaguri clam.
Chef Aoki has incorporated some of these dishes into his expansive dinner menu, which features 16 courses: Kinmedai and Kiwi, Marinated Chūtoro, Smoked Firefly Squid “Sakura” Scent, Kohada, Prawn and Vinegared Egg Yolk, Eel Terrine, Prime Otoro, Japanese Style Egg Custard in Icefish served with Kinome Starchy Soy Sauce, Nodoguro with Dried Mullet Roe, Akagai, three kinds of Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe and Salted Kelp, Sea Urchin and Eel Risotto, Mackerel Stick Sushi, Simmered Hamaguri Clam and Kinmedai Clear Soup.
Highlights include the Prawn with Vinegared Egg Yolk, as the sourness of the egg complements the subtle sweetness of the prawn, and the Kinmedai and Kiwi, which has intense umami flavours. The Mackerel Stick Sushi and Simmered Hamaguri Clam are both specialties of Ginza SUSHI AOKI and Chef Aoki is delighted to serve them in Hong Kong for the first time.
FUMI and Chef Aoki share many of the same values, which made him a natural choice for FUMI’s first guest chef appearance. Like FUMI, Chef Aoki is committed to teaching diners about Japan’s food, culture and traditions. At Ginza SUSHI AOKI, he also leads an initiative called Project Blue Tree, for which he invites international chefs to Tokyo to learn more about the art of making sushi.
FUMI is located at 6/F, California Tower, Lan Kwai Fong, 30 – 36 D’Aguilar St, Central. For reservations, please call +852 2328 3302 or email info@fumihk.com.