Title: Co-owner Medicine Eatstation
Hometown: Moab, Utah
1. What’s “New Shojin” cuisine all about?
In Japan there are two ways Shojin cuisine is served, as an aristocratic, 18 course formal cuisine or as simple monk cuisine and we’ve tried to do something in the middle which is kind of unusual. It’s a healthy everyday experience, but we’re not just serving rice and miso soup.
We’ve taken an ancient cuisine of Zen monasteries and made a few careful adjustments to it. It allows us to be a bit more serendipitous about what we put together. We have a certain range of tastes that we want to do here and there is great restraint involved to remain within it. We are looking for a certain taste range that allows the subtlety of the vegetables to come out. We are not a fusion place.
2. What would you want people to know before coming here?
That our normal American idea of food is filled with cheap thrills and big tastes and grease but there is a real world of complexity and color in this type of cuisine. That’s what attracted me to it in the first place.
3. What are your favorite dishes at the moment?
Jade Nuggets, it’s labor intensive for the kitchen though. It has natto, fermented soy bean flavored with mustard folded in a shiso leaf and tempura fried. It’s a hard core Japanese taste. We’ve had a lot of “natto conversions” with this dish. Also the Napa Cabbage Roll, it’s soft on the outside, wrapped in lettuce, crunchy inside with pickled gourd. The textures are amazing.
4. What’s the best thing about running a restaurant?
The creativity and the mathematical joy in discovering the formula that makes an innovative restaurant work. It’s the menu, the offerings, the economics.
5. When you eat out now, where do you like to go?
I like either very simple classic places or great fine experimental places, Swan’s, Tadich, also Michael Mina and Chez Panisse. But almost nothing in between.