La Chef

  • La Chef


I am a big tea drinker who is also fascinated by Japan and Japanese cuisine. I discovered matcha tea during a trip to Japan when I was 20, and have been using it extensively in my cooking ever since.


My first flavoured dashi was made using matcha. It usually accompanies baby leeks and anchovies marinated in matcha salt. My idea was to combine the saltiness of dashi, a Japanese broth made from kelp and dried bonita, with the bitterness of matcha, which would bring the dashi to life and prolong its smoky taste. Another example is my stuffed Banon cheese parcels, which use pastry flavoured with matcha tea. Made wholly from unpasteurised goat's milk, Banon is left to mature in chestnut leaves, giving it an earthy taste with tannic notes. The matcha keeps this woody impression in the mouth for longer.


Besides matcha, I am interested in experimenting with all other Japanese green teas, especially genmaicha and sencha.

I often use them in the desserts that I create.  For example, in the past I have paired wild strawberries, genmaicha and rose geranium, the tea's slightly bitter and roasted flavours forming a beautiful complexity with the floral notes of the strawberries and geranium.  I have also mixed sencha with rose geranium and basmati rice in a vacherin cheese. Green sencha tea has a very grassy taste, striking a subtle balance between astringency and umami sweetness. This dessert develops vegetable and floral flavours with a fermented note.

What ultimately interests me about green tea, which unlike black tea is not fermented at all, is its subtle and delicate flavour that's also plant-like and fresh, which develops into a slight bitterness and astringency, with even a touch of saltiness.


In 2013, I met Maki Maruyama from the Japanese teahouse Jugetsudo and was bewitched by the high quality of the green teas she imports from Japan. Jugetsudo's teas are grown in the foothills of Mount Fuji, on incredibly high quality land. Maki believes, as do I, that good quality green tea strikes a balance between freshness, astringency and sweetness.


During our conversations, an idea began to form of a tea collection that would reflect my culinary vision of unusual, complex flavour combinations. I have coupled green tea with some of my favourite ingredients, such as bohojicha with Monts Amaro coffee, genmaicha with tonka bean, and sencha with smoked vanilla.




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