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5 Questions for Shigetoshi Nakamura

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Ramen master Shigetoshi Nakamura is owner of Ikemen, the ‘dip ramen’ joint in Hollywood. He’s also known as one of Japan’s ‘Four Ramen Devas,’ and after opening restaurants in Tokyo and Kanagawa, he came to L.A. where the fresh ingredients and seasonal produce -- along with inspiration from his friend Ferran Adria, of El Bulli -- made way for his take on the traditional soup.

What’s coming up next on your menu? We came to Hollywood, the capital of the movie industry, to start a ramen restaurant two months ago. Although we’ve been welcomed with open arms, there’s still a lot we need to learn. Today, we’re in the process of perfecting our menu with the philosophy of umami, the essence of excellent taste at its core. The dish we’re most excited to soon release goes by the name of ‘Ghost Buster,’ a dish inspired by the respective movie.

Latest ingredient obsession? That would be our water. At Ikemen, we utilize a filter that removes 100% of all excess substances in the water -- everything from chlorine to radioactive toxins. This also happens to be the same filter NASA astronauts use in space. We believe that water is the foundation of all cuisine, the first step to good food, and we’re unyielding when it comes to putting our best foot forward.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? I’m a stubborn repeater at Toshi Sushi. The ‘deluxe seafood bowl’ hits the spot everytime. It’s a perfected, magnificent dish.

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The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Our giant stock pot. When making ramen, the most important element is the soup. Since we can’t make our soup without the stock pot it’s naturally the second most important thing to us, the first being our lives.

What’s the last non-food-related book you read? ‘Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography.’ I am a student of his creativity and conceptual intelligence, as they are very relevant to the culinary arts and food creation in general.

1655 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood, (323) 800-7669, ikemenhollywood.com.

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--Caitlin Keller

Photo credits: Ikemenhollywood.com


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