Food writer Clara Park sat down with Chef Takao Iinuma of Azie Restaurant in Media and Villanova and learned a bit more about this talented and friendly Japanese born chef who has a penchant for Korean BBQ and making meat stocks.
Name: Takao Iinuma
Years in the Industry: 20
First Kitchen Job: Prep cook in a small Chinese restaurant in Tokyo.
Earliest Cooking Memory: I was 9 or 10, making Japanese egg omelets for myself for breakfast. My mother is a great home cook, I learned from her.
Favorite Thing to Cook: To make stocks from scratch, any [flavor]: fish, chicken, veal, lamb in the French, Japanese or Chinese method. If I have a good stock, it makes the next step in cooking so much easier/better.
Advice for Home Cooks: Don't cook large amounts at once. Cook in smaller batches, it allows you to keep the temperature in the pan high and prevents steaming. If you're doing stir-fry or sauteing things the amount of food in the pan makes a big difference.
Favorite Local Restaurant: Fellini's Cafe in Media
Favorite Restaurant in the World: Kyu Bei sushi restaurant in Toyko, Japan
Guilty Pleasure (food or drink): Korean BBQ and beer
Last Meal on Earth: My mother is still in Japan. For my last meal, I would want her to cook a simple Japanese dinner for me and my family.
Biggest Kitchen Disaster: One time I was running a ramen shop in Japan and there were only two people in the kitchen (myself and another cook). Right before the lunch rush the other cook decided to no-call-no-show. I had to cook for 50 or 60 people on my own. It was crazy busy but I managed to do it.