30th June 2015
We’d like to introduce to you Mr Murase, the head chef at Udonya Tokoton. He chats to us about his love for Japanese food, kitchen staples he can’t live without and the secret to perfect tempura!
Since opening in September 2012, Udonya Tokoton quickly became known as one of Brisbane’s best value Japanese restaurants. Located along the front strip of Sunnybank Plaza, the restaurant setting features rich textures and soft lighting, offering a contemporary, yet casual dining experience. The quick self-service layout is popular with locals and fits in neatly among the hustle and bustle of a vibrant shopping centre. Just over a year into its operation, the restaurant was acknowledged as one of Brisbane’s best. In August 2012, Udonya Tokoton was announced as a finalist in Savour Australia’s Awards of Excellence, for the best Japanese Restaurant in Brisbane and the Darling Downs. Behind this excitement, is a savvy owner, hard-working staff and Mr Murase, the very passionate and enthusiastic head chef. Born and raised in Japan, Mr Murase spent his teenage years working in management positions in several restaurants and after undertaking formal training, he has now spent eight years working as a qualified chef.
Mr Murase brings to Udonya Tokoton, not only his traditional Japanese training but also a love of fresh, seasonal produce.
1. When did your interest in cooking begin?
Since I was a child, I’ve wanted to be a chef. I was raised by parents who both loved to cook, especially my father. He always cooked smoked pork and I loved his fried rice. Fried rice was actually the very first dish I learnt to cook.
2. What meals do you like to cook at home?
What I cook at home depends on the produce I have in my kitchen. I often cook a hot pot with fish and vegetables. In Japan, I would always cook with seasonal items. If I was in Japan right now, I’d be cooking with mushrooms or pacific saury.
3. What is your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Soy sauce! It can be used to flavour lots of different dishes. It’s very versatile. Popular Japanese brands of soy sauce that I use are Kikkoman and Yamasa.
4. What are your kitchen staples?
My kitchen staples are Japanese sake, soy paste and salt and pepper.
5. How would you describe Japanese cuisine?
Japanese cuisine is delicious, complicated, healthy and traditional. It’s complicated because we like to use lots of different ingredients in our food, but we still like our meals to be light.
6. What are the most popular items on the Udonya Tokoton menu?
The stamina curry, tempura vegetables and beef udon. Chicken karaage is also very popular. The batter is light and the chicken is tender. It’s a good side dish you can eat with most of the meals on our menu.
7. What dish do you recommend to customers who aren’t familiar with Japanese cuisine and are looking for a “safe” option?
The stamina curry! It’s very tasty! It’s also my favourite dish on the menu. The curry is a combination of succulent beef, carrots and potatoes served on rice. I recommend vegetable tempura as a side or chicken karaage.
8. What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The satisfaction I get from seeing a smile on a customer’s face or to hear they enjoyed a meal I cooked.
9. Do you have any dining tips for non-Japanese customers?
Feel comfortable, and ask questions if you’re unsure of something. We’re always happy to help.
Check out Mr Murase’s Tempura Vegetables Recipe here.