Day in the Life of a Japanese Master Chef

This is Hal Yamashita, a MasterChef famous in Japan for his kobe inspired fusion style cooking called Shin-Washoku Which means that new Japanese cuisine and he’s just arriving at his Roppongi Midtown office, and I’m just waiting upstairs to greet him All right, Hal-san on should be coming around the corner any second now Good morning. What time did you wake up? So his day doesn’t start at the kitchen, but instead with an internal staff meeting Although Hal has established several high-end restaurants in Japan He also runs a popular cupcake shop called Tokyo Entotsu and in preparation of the new shop opening he has to review the shop Implementation details with his staff at this level. It’s not enough to simply make delicious food There’s a lot of people involved in the creation of each restaurant Finally all finished! I guess by exciting meeting you really meant long meeting So now they’re hitting halt to his flagship restaurant Hal Yamashita Tokyo it’s also located in Roppongi Midtown Time to taste some food Part of being a master chef is to create new menu items in order to keep the shop relevant Especially in Tokyo apparently each batch of cupcakes are made with different ingredient amounts But Hal says he relies solely on taste instead of the batch recipe as final judgement If all prepared correctly Hal says He can usually approve new menu items within three tastings, but damn that’s a lot of calories So basically they just finished the taste to see now and then they’re just going over Some more stuff for the different restaurants he has. Its been what four hours so far, and it’s all been meetings He’s very much involved in the business process, the planning process, the quality process It’s quite amazing. It’s like that adage more money more problems. I guess of more restaurants more food tastings I think it’s gonna be quite a long day Another aspect of being a master chef is a celebrity Now he has a photoshoot with a famous Japanese photographer Shin Yamagishi Known for his portrait gallery of public figures Which now, Hal is gonna be a part of Damn that’s a lot of bowing I can feel the respect from here Although most people in Tokyo use public transit, Hal must be judicious on how he uses his time. Running as many business as he does Traveling by car is the only practical solution So in the culinary industry, what do you think is the difference between Japan and the rest of the world? He says, that for example, in the States talented young chefs are able to find investors to help start their restaurant businesses So even if they fail they can find another investor to start a different restaurant, whereas in Japan Investors are rare. So succeeding the first time is critical In fact when he started his first restaurant in Kobe, he had to take on a high interest loan to get the restaurant started So this is his udon restaurant in Hibiya uh oh, I think something has caught his eye at the storefront Looks like he’s telling the manager to take it down. I guess it’s all in the details Even the sign presentation has caught his attention Hal, how does it taste? So to maintain the quality of food and service at each of his restaurants. He must schedule periodic visits I asked if you can simply hire someone to do these checks for him But Hal says it’s difficult for someone to completely know for how each dish is to taste so he has to do it himself So it’s getting a little bit intense over there as he teaches the staff how to prepare the udon noodles I think it was like the fifth time they brought it out and still not coming out right Luckily, Hal’s been nice enough to prepare some udon for me So I’m just gonna eat while he’s over there instructing them how to make a proper udon noodles The curry sauce is amazing It’s a little bit spicy. It’s a super super thick. This is like the best curry udon I’ve ever had. Noodles hard or not Okay, we’re getting hands on now. Hal mentions it’s actually common for preparation and flavors to change over time It’s not the cooks fault as this naturally happens But rather it’s a master chefs responsibility to routinely taste the food to ensure that each dish is prepared correctly Hal, what’s wrong with the pork katsu? Wow, how many times have you asked them to remake the noodles? Damn, that’s a lot of bowls Well, now that the quality has been restored, Time now to update the menu specials. In Japan, it’s common to be written by hand Well, we’re ready to move on. I think it took longer than expected You were working by yourself at first, right? Can I ask if it was easier alone or in a large team like now So on our way back, Hal has decided to stop by two of his other shops to see how the staff are doing Oh, this is their cupcake shop And this is his lounge restaurant It even has a sushi counter, he’s really in everything Finally, back to Roppongi While many workers in Tokyo are clocking out at this time. Hal is just getting started Born in Kobe, known for its mountains, oceans, sake, and Kobe beef as well as traveling the world, all helped influence Hal to create a new style of cuisine called Shin-Washoku which utilizes modern techniques to bring out the full potential of Japanese ingredients One of Hal’s specialties is his signature rolled Kobe beef filled with sea urchin and topped with smoked caviar But as a master chef he’s able to prepare Kobe beef dishes in many different ways So, what would you say the most important thing is when you cook? Wow, so this is what it’s like being behind the kitchen I’ve never been behind it before and it’s actually pretty tight It’s like four or five different chefs in this like narrow space, but they’re all working together and they don’t seem to like bump in to each other. Everyone works together so well. Looks like Hals going to be here for the rest of their night So I guess we’re just gonna wait until he finishes. How long have you been working here for? So what’s the most difficult thing? Are you not going home yet? Hal, what time do you usually go home? Alright, so thats the day in the life of a Japanese master chef What do you guys think? If you like this video help me out and hit that like button if you guys want to see more day in the life videos I have more coming Definitely hit that subscribe button and the bell button if you guys want to see what I’m doing on the daily and definitely check out my Instagram account. If you want help support the channel and definitely go check out the Tokyo merch. Yeah, that’s pretty much it He’s still working and I think it’s time to go home

100 thoughts on “Day in the Life of a Japanese Master Chef

  1. Also see a Japanese Ramen Chef or the Complete Japan Day in the Life video series Let me know what your favorite video is so far and why so I can produce more.

  2. When do they have time to have a life and a family? 6am to 1am. Wow. Way too much of the life being spent working. I admire the dedication though but yeah not my cup of tea.

  3. Japanese dedication to their work is the difference with other countries.
    In many countries, work is seen as slavery, something you have to do, and many workers just do average quality work just to escape the office/work area and go have fun outside with their hobbies. In Japan, not so. In Japan your work defines your life. You cant be an asshole at work or produce shit work because its like shitting on the core of your life. I really admire this Japanese attitude because they essentially solved one of the great problems in society…Happiness/satisfaction through work. The Western attitude and generally rest of the world, is more "how can we engineer society so we avoid work". I dont think thats the right mindset to have.

  4. All these day in the life videos have people waking up really early and going to bed really late. I’m starting to get concerned for the health and welfare of Japanese workers. 😂

  5. almost all the people in Day in the life are working so hard, they get to home so late, how do they manage to keep family life?

  6. idk if i would say taking a car be faster, i seen tokyo's roads first hand twice, imagine if he had to go through a single lane road and the bus in front of him that be hell

    im more curious about the price range at each of his restaurants

  7. Another fantastic video! I'm surprised that despite so many Japanese car companies, the more affluent tend to go for BMW, Mercedes, and in this case I see Porsche.

  8. Sorry I have to compare but damn, the editing in your "A Day In A.." series makes me see through Japanese life much more personally. Keep it up! Maybe a day in the life of a Japanese national politician perhaps?

  9. Your videos are fantastic, informative and a real treat to witness and appreciate Japanese culture and its citizens who make it work daily and early.

  10. I just like that we see a successful, hard working person. In all honesty how many people would want to have the kind of responsibilty and stress he deals with every day, averaging four to five hours of sleep per day

  11. 0:10 lmao the run of shame. I don't do that. I walk as slow as possible while maintaining constant unbreakable eye contact with the driver.

  12. LMAO it's crazy that this channel is the best thing that came out of youtube, I like cat video but this tops it. BUT THIS Chef right HERE!!! Give him the title. " Big BOSS"

  13. Great vid hehe, he's like a big shot and you got a bit of time from him.

    Chef Hal's workaholic, kinda insane but hope he also have dayoffs for his family etc.
    Nice perspectives.

  14. He's the boss that you look up to if you're a chef who's who's very passionate about cooking but if you're a chef just because your dad was a chef then he's the boss that turns your stomach inside out every time you see him

  15. Nice Camera work and Voicing Team Paulo! At this rate, you must do a video about a day in the life of yourself in Tokyo, Paulo!

  16. He's so busy and kind. What an ideal chef. I'll really wanna go Japan soon. They have a big big respect to the foods the prepare and serve.

  17. "Day in the Life of" series of videos is my favorite. Kudos on this idea Paolo. Execution and production is top-notch!
    I worked for a month as an IT Consultant in the very same building in Ropponggi, It's called Tokyo Midtown. I will have to check out his restaurant next time I am back. They seem pricey. I think that's why we never ate there lol (From that "bridge" that has the big ROPPONGI sign on it, there's a nearby udon shop that's worth going to. You can have single or double or even triple serving…at the same cost! Naturally I had the triple serving lol A little further from the Udon shop there's a Donki which I frequented almost nighty haha)
    And as a tip, Tokyo Midtown light display during Christmas is definitely something to see. Maybe you can add this to one of your future vids; either as "things to do in Roppongi" or seasonal / Christmas places to see

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