Chef Al Kecciano Masayuki OkudaChef Al Kecciano Masayuki Okuda



Al Kecciano Chef Masayuki Okuda Opening up the future with food (Part 1)


Gourmand World Cookbook Award Grand Prix Winner Al Kecciano Chef Masayuki Okuda Talks about “Boiling Theory”

In addition to the main store in Yamagata, we also produce stores nationwide. On this day, the interview was held at the Italian bar "TO KYO BAR" in Gransta Tokyo.

A Japanese chef won the grand prize at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards held in Sweden in June this year. Masayuki Okuda, owner and chef of Al Kecciano. He won the award for his book ``Boiling Theory,'' in which he explained a new way to boil pasta. We asked Mr. Okuda, who attracts gourmets from all over the world to his restaurant in Yamagata and Shonai, about his internationally recognized cooking philosophy.

Pasta philosophy that overturns common sense will rule the world



The Gourmand World Cookbook Award is the world's only cookbook award established in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau (from the Cointreau family famous for liqueurs). Every year, a number of great books from around the world, such as cookbooks and wine books published in that year, win awards, and are known as the ``Academy Awards of cookbooks.''



This time, there were 227 entries from 1558 countries and regions. Mr. Okuda's ``Yuderon'' won the Grand Prix in the ``Single Subject'' category, which is specialized in one thing, and second place in the ``Innovative'' category, which is praised for being innovative.

“A New Way to Boil Pasta: Boiling Theory” (Laqua Shoten) ¥5,640. Available only on Amazon. “A New Way to Boil Pasta: Boiling Theory” (Laqua Shoten) ¥5,640. Available only on Amazon.

“A New Way to Boil Pasta: Boiling Theory” (Laqua Shoten) 5,640 yen. Available only on Amazon.

What is Chef Okuda's bold idea that shocked the judges?


What Mr. Okuda explains in ``Boiling Theory'' is the ultimate way to make pasta. As the title suggests, this boiling method overturns the conventional wisdom of boiling pasta in water with a salt content of 2.5% and then rinsing it to remove the salt.


``If you use 2.5%, the surface will always be slimy, but if you use XNUMX%, it will become smoother and firmer, giving it a firmer texture.However, as it is too salty, you can rinse it with hot water and mix it with the sauce. We make sure the salt content is optimal.”


Mr. Okuda says that this bold idea may have been possible because he was Japanese. When receiving this award, the judges commented, ``I was shocked that they focused on something so simple that no one else has done.'' In fact, it seems that the judges actually tried cooking pasta using this boiling theory and discussed it before arriving at their results.


"Japanese people wash udon and somen noodles after boiling them. So I tried rinsing pasta in the same way."


In addition, the rules, such as how to combine ingredients with sauce, how to mix pasta and sauce, and how many times to stir, are written in an easy-to-understand manner, not using a scientific approach, but based on the experience of dealing with ingredients from a chef's perspective. There is.

A theory created by the daily operations of a restaurant that should be passed on to the next generation.


I originally started writing this book to convey my skills to the staff.


``This is an idea that I had established myself over 22 years ago, but it was difficult to put it into words.However, putting thoughts and ideas into words = ``transforming them into sentences,'' When I realized that it could become a culture, I thought that it should be preserved more widely."


Of course, there are still chefs who keep their recipes private and who believe that techniques should be stolen rather than taught, but Mr. Okuda says he wants to share all of his knowledge and techniques with everyone. It all started when I once experienced depression due to a misunderstanding at work, and even though I thought I might die, I miraculously survived a car accident.


"There are things we must do with the life God has given us. Since we don't know when our lives will end, I felt like I was writing for the future of humanity."


Furthermore, Mr. Okuda says that what is important is that these recipes and ideas can only survive in the day-to-day operations of a restaurant. For example, it is not his intention to leave the restaurant and preach recipes and techniques.


"A restaurant is a living thing. By making people happy at a restaurant and competing seriously every day, that will be reflected in your own thoughts. I think it was only through doing both that we were able to reach our starting point.”


Therefore, Mr. Okuda says, ``Cooking has no final destination.''


"There are many changes every day. But that doesn't mean I don't write about it. I decided to leave it as a form because it doesn't have to be perfect. I just collect my thoughts and create a ``culture.'' ``Culture.'' I believe that by coming together, we can become a ``civilization'' that can have an impact on many people.''



What I want to convey is not just techniques, but also the way of life as a chef.


Sleep time is 2 hours. Mr. Okuda wrote this book in a quiet space with no sign of people after the store closed. Each recipe listed also includes an anecdote. This is also an important aspect of this book for Mr. Okuda.


"There's always a feeling that goes into cooking. That's what makes a dish come to life, not just a recipe."


What makes a dish is not just the cooking technique, but also the feelings that go into creating it, the memories that come back to you every time you make it, and the thoughts that go into it. And this book covers more than just pasta logic. Scattered throughout his vast knowledge of pasta are specific know-how for the life of a chef.


"I think you'll learn how to read customers' moods by the way they enter the restaurant, what it takes to be a chef, and the secret to a successful restaurant."


For example, I learned how to move my body efficiently in the kitchen so as not to be a nuisance to seniors, and how to think about the optimal menu based on the facial expressions and actions of customers when they entered the restaurant. It depicts hardships and life skills in an interesting way. Furthermore, chefs can learn about the secrets of how even the same menu can be seasoned subtly by changing the way the sauce is mixed and cooked depending on the age, and guests can learn about why Al Kecciano attracts so many people. You can see why people from all over the world want to visit.

There is also a detailed floor plan of the kitchen on the inside of the cover. It piques my curiosity even if I'm not a chef. There is also a detailed floor plan of the kitchen on the inside of the cover. It piques my curiosity even if I'm not a chef.

On the back of the cover, Chef Okuda includes a detailed floor plan illustration of the kitchen, showing how things work inside the kitchen. It piques my curiosity even if I'm not a chef.

In fact, I'm already planning my next book.


``I believe that it is possible to determine a person's taste preferences based on their origins, eating habits, and other genetic factors.Next time, I would like to share this idea as ``Ajiron''.''


As the saying goes, "A restaurant is a living thing," this year marks the 23rd anniversary of our independence, and we relocated and opened Al Kecciano. Its progress will never stop. In the second part, we will share Mr. Okuda's thoughts on the new store.





Text by Yukiko Ushimaru
Photography by Natsuko Okada (Studio Mug)

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