Knives & Needles with Sean Yanagi
By Molly Katamura
Reblogged from: www.knivesandneedlesblog.com
Sean Yanagi is a talented chef who gets tattooed by my friend Jill Bonny aka Horiyuki of State of Grace Tattoo Studio. I met him the other day and we got talking about restaurants and cooking. So it was only natural to interview him for this blog!! Read on and find out Sean’s thoughts on food and tattoos! Cheers!
Molly: Tell me a bit about yourself, please include what you are doing now
Sean: My name is Sean Yanagi and currently a line cook. At an early age I’ve always been enriched in food and the culture through family and just a natural curiosity but never really started to cook myself besides a microwave and late night top ramen till my late 20’s. Unwittingly I found cooking as a new hobby, Since then I’ve been hooked. School was really never meant for me so I spent most my career in the bleak hole of retail. After a long and an impassionate day of work I’d come home to cook off works stress and found cooking calming and therapeutic. Cooking a satisfying meal would simmer away all the loathing I had in the day’s work of retail. I decided I wanted to cook as a profession and once I started I felt right at home, working with people that actually had passion for what they do and worked to at least their best abilities. These eccentric, oddball misfits was an environment of people I felt at ease with where I can speak my mind and keep it real no bullshit aside. “By the ticket, take the ride” so to speak.
M: I always loved that about cooking, every kitchen is a motley crew! What is your favorite thing to cook?
S: My favorite thing to cook is anything low and slow to some good music, like cooking up some Gumbo to the sounds of Sidney Bechet or a nice Bolognese relaxing to some Pavarotti.
M: Woah, cool! When did you get your first tattoo?
S: I got my first tattoo when i was 21, i wanted something i would not regret so i got my last name
M: Nice! Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?
S: The work that really caught my eye was from Jill Horiyuki Bonny. When looking for Japanese style tattooing I really appreciated her attention to detail, her work with color and classic style in her art. I also admire Takahiro Horitaka Kitamura, Luke Stewart for Japanese art and Jun Cha for black and grey all artist I’d like to get work from done.
M: Those are all really great artists and people! Do you go to any convention, if so which ones?
M: Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?
S: I feel cooking and the art of tattooing come together well because each has its creativity, freedom, culture, history and boldness, all ingredients that on the palate bind well together naturally.
M: What is your next tattoo gona be?
S: I’m in the progress for getting a 3 quarter sleeve Japanese cherry Blossoms in the wind
M: What cooking magazines do you read?
S: Bon Appetit and Food and Wine
M: Love those! Do you own any tattoo magazines?
M: Any cooking advice for a novice?
S: Always prep ingredients ahead of time before you start cooking called “Mise en Place” you’ll find the cooking experience more enjoyable and learn more from it. Also use your instincts, if you feel something is not right change it remember its just cooking have some fun with it.
Sean gave us an amazing recipe for beef yakiniku! Yakiniku is grilled beef Korean style and its one of my personal favorites! Thank you Sean!!
*Sorry I measure my ingredients by eye, so if you don’t feel comfortable you can buy pre made Yakiniku sauce at the Japanese market
Yanagi’s Beef Yakiniku With Shishito Peppers
- Flank Steak (or sliced Flat meat specifically for Yakiniku at the Japanese market) Preferred
Yakiniku Glaze and marinade
- Japanese Soy Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Rice Vinegar
- Minced Ginger
- Minced Garlic
- Brown Sugar
- Japanese Spices (Shichimi Togarashi)
- Black n White Sesame (for garnish)
1. Mix all ingredients and steak into zip locked bag and marinade for at least 4 hours
2. Mix another batch of Yakiniku sauce and cook to reduce in a sauce pot to make a nice glaze (add corn starch mixed with cold water if sauce hasn’t thicken enough) *make sure there are no lumps in corn starch mixture.
3. Grill beef to your liking.
4. Lay beef over a bed of Japanese rice and drizzle with Yakiniku Glaze then add a layer of sautéed Shishito Pepper and zest Yuzu on top
Sautéed Shishito Peppers
- Shishito Peppers( Sliced)
- Kumquat(Thinly sliced)
- Yuzu zest
- Ponzu sauce
- Shichimi Togarashi
1. Heat oil in sauté pan on medium high heat, add peppers, scallions and Shichimi Togarashi spice when oil is hot.
2. Cook until peppers are slightly still crunchy to the bit
3. Add kumquat, yuzu and ponzu sauce to mix in and turn off heat and set aside