a trip to new york with samsung

samsung club de chefs

This past week, Samsung flew me out to New York as part of their Club de Chefs collaboration. I had the opportunity to preview some amazing appliances at the Samsung Living Atelier (like a pop up shop), and chat with some pretty major Michelin star chefs.

Along with fellow bloggers, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Éric Fréchon of the restaurant at the Hôtel Le Bristol in Paris, Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa, Michel Troisgros of La Maison Troisgros in Roanne, and (surprise chef!), Daniel Boulud of the restaurant Daniel. They were all so kind. Our afternoon session was all smiles and laughs – I found myself forgetting that I was sitting with people who make some of the most incredible food in the world.

One thing that made me feel good about my personal approach to food is that all chefs agreed that cooking at home has to be light, and it has to be simple. “Quick simple beautiful ingredients,” says Chef Michel.

My biggest takeaway was one common element – food is love. When I asked about cooking at home, 3 out of the 4 of the chefs replied with “my wife cooks, or I cook with my wife.” I just love how, even for rockstar Michelin star chefs – cooking is about family. I thought it was especially sweet to listen to Chef Michel talk about his wife:“I’m amazed at what she does with nothing.”

But it was Chef Éric that described cooking in the most heartwarming way. “You must cook the way you love to cook. Take time and be meticulous. But cooking has to come from the heart to make a difference. It’s about sharing what’s in your heart while you prepare the for the person you are cooking for.”

samsung club de chefs

You may be thinking “what does this have to do with Samsung?” Someone really smart at Samsung decided to find out what these amazing chefs would actually WANT in their kitchens at home – and with their help the new Chef Collection line was born. I walked away with some serious appliance-envy (hello, oven that can cook at two different temps at the same time(!)… and fridge with sparkling water dispenser where you can choose your level of fizz).

Later that evening (pictured), they cooked for us (and many others) at the final press event. At the end of the event they gave us each a signed apron. All and all, a super inspiring trip.

This post is in collaboration with Samsung

kappabashi kitchen town

kappabashi kitchen town, tokyo

We rounded the corner onto Kappabashi-dori. My eyes lit up, my heart skipped two beats. At the same time Jack let out a big sigh and whined “oh nooo… today is going to SUUCK.”

Luckily, there was some free wifi in the area so he could distract himself while I carefully looked through every last copper pot, ginger grater, and tiny painted bowl… I have no words, really. Store upon store, stuffed with stuff (good stuff). Pinch me.

click to keep reading, more after the jump:

yudofu (tofu) in kyoto

tofu in Kyoto / loveandlemons.com

In Japan, tofu is not a meat or dairy replacement. It’s just a regular food that regular people eat – and hardly anyone there is vegetarian. The very best way to experience tofu is at a yudofu restaurant in Kyoto. You sit down (on mats) to a set meal which starts with a few small dishes made out of various types of tofu. Then comes the big star – the simmering pot of soft tofu. It’s luscious, creamy, and unlike any kind of tofu that has ever come out of a box. This particular meal was at Okutan, a 350 year old establishment, where they make their own tofu on site every morning.

tofu in Kyoto / loveandlemons.com

Cute story – this woman, our Japanese grandmother (at least for that afternoon), noticed us taking photos at the start of the meal. When she brought out the big hot pot, she motioned to Jack and made a charades-style camera-clicking motion… preparing him to get the camera ready before she opened the steaming pot. It’s always awkward trying to photograph in restaurants, so of course we loved her participation… language barrier and all.

tofu in Kyoto / loveandlemons.comtofu in Kyoto / loveandlemons.com

The tofu is served simply – with soy sauce, grated daikon, scallions and shichimi. The meal is finished off with crispy veggie tempura, rice & Japanese pickles. I wish could eat like this every day!

For more Kyoto restaurant/travel recommendations, see this post.

uji & matcha

Tea fields, Uji Japan // loveandlemons.commatcha cream // loveandlemons.com

A few days ago, we took this short little day trip to the land of Matcha. Uji is famous for producing the finest Matcha in Japan since the 14th century. It’s not necessarily a “must see,” but it’s an easy 30 minute train ride from Kyoto and it was just so beautiful. We strolled the little main street, saw a (pretty touristy) tea ceremony, drank some frothy matcha, and had a nice cha-soba lunch.