IVAN RAMEN: LOVE, OBSESSION, AND RECIPES FROM TOKYO’S MOST UNLIKELY NOODLE JOINT
This book is partly a memoir and partly a cookbook, writen by the owner of a Ivan Ramen restaurant. In Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint we discover chef Orkins road to a star of the Tokyo restaurant scene and enjoy over 40 recipes, including complete and detailed Shio Ramen recipe, witch is chefs signiture dish.
FEW WORDS ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Our guest this week is Ivan Orkin, professional chef known for specializing in Ramen based dishes. He owns and operates two restaurants in Japan as well as the Ivan Ramen Slurp Shops at the Gotham West Market on 11th Avenue in New York and the Lower East side. His career in the restaurant industry started when he worked as a dishwasher at a sushi bar at the age of fifteen. He studied Japanese at the University of Colorado. After graduation he left to teach English in Japan and in 1990 he returned to attend Culinary Institute of America.
The book has 224 pages, text is largely narative, where the first half is about chef Orkins journey from NYC to Tokyo and back again, several times, until hitting it big on the ramen scene. It’s a delightful story, where one of the things we discover is that chefs decision to open a ramen shop was anything but rash. His main motivation was the love of ramen and his need to cook again after several years trying to figure out his next step. After this journey, chef Orkin offers us the master recipe for his signiture dish Shio Ramen which consist out of eight more recipes for the components that make up the ramen.Those components are fat, shio tare, katsuobushi salt, double soup, toasted rye noodles, menma, pork belly chashu, and half-cooked egg. The recipe is very detailed, every component, every step is thoroughly explained and illustraded, so you’ll know exactly what to do and when to do it Aside from Shio Ramen recipe, there are 23 more recipes (Chicken Katsu, Dashi Maki Tamago, Chicken Teriyaki, Omu rice, etc.), five recipes for sweets and side dishes. The book also includes an interview with Shimazaki-san (a ramen master that doesn’t allow his customers to speak while in his shop) and Ohsaki-san (a self-confessed noodle addict who claims to regularly eat 800 bowls of ramen in a period of 12 months). There is a foreword written by chef David Chang, which is a letter of advice for chef Orkin, from one ramen shop owner to another. To quote chef Chang: „You’re feeding people, you’re going to bring people a lot of joy. It’s a heavy duty thing when you get past all the bullshit. But do not underestimate the bullshit. The same can be said for most pursuits, really.“ This book is really worth a read, it will inspire you, give you insight into Japanese culture and leave you with a deep appreciation for what goes into a seemingly simple bowl of noodles.