He's never been hit by Naomi's flying saucers
By: Jayita Bandyopadhyay
Just one bite of Chef Norimasa Kasaka's sushis will explain why hothead supermodel Naomi Campbell didn't throw the plate at him.
Cook nook: Chef Norimasa Kasaka
Kasaka's sushis are not just exotic rolls of fresh raw fish and wine-fermented rice that the Japanese first propagated to preserve fish. The chef turns each one of them in to a magical ball of various flavours, which will woo even the hardcore sushi-hater, if there is any. No wonder, Nicole Kidman and Campbell returned to him for more!
"When chefs serve Naomi, they are scared. Because she is known to have thrown plates at them if she didn't like a particular dish. But she like my sushis and sashimis so much that she came back for more," says the young chef, who has joined hotel Shangri-La's 19 Oriental Avenue restaurant as Japanese Chef De Cuisine.
But he doesn't like divulging secrets. "I served Naomi a platter of my sushis. She was visiting Maldives and had come to the restaurant I was working for with a group of friends. So they shared the platter between them," he says, with a sly smile. Kasaka, who has just arrived from Maldives, has had many other celebrities eating out of his hands. "I have served Nicole Kidman too. She loved my sushis," he says.
The prawn sushi, which Kasaka hints is Kidman's favourite too, is a burst of delicious flavours. With freshly chopped avocado and juicy pink prawn, it is a delight. Pop one and the soft meat ball melts in your mouth. Even the usual sushi dip of wasabi and soy sauce, seem to irritate.
"I love to innovate but enjoy cooking authentic Japanese dishes the most. It is good to improvise and experiment to suit tastes of guests, but I have realised maintaining the authenticity is crucial to being a good chef. In this day of amalgamation of global flavours, we mix so many ingredients that often, the basic taste is overpowered. So when you serve a dish undiluted, people love it. This is the reason celebrities love my food," he says, reeling off from his celeb guestlist, "Royal families of Arabic countries, Azerbaijan, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Dolce and Gabbana and Michael Schumacher."
For Delhi's fiery tastes, Kasaka has innovated the vegetarian sushi platter, which surprisingly, is a treat, especially the vegetarian rolls with crispy rice puffs. So go and take a bite of Naomi's favourite.
Where: 19, Oriental Avenue, Shangri-La, Ashoka Road
Meal for two: Rs 3000