Acclaimed chef David Bouley, of downtown Manhattan restaurants Bouley and Brushstroke, appeared on The Charlie Rose Show on Friday night to discuss several major trends in today's restaurants. The central focus of the interview was the relationship between Western and Japanese cuisines, a longtime interest of Bouley's.
Bouley is especially enthusiastic about Kyoto's kaiseki cuisine, which provides the basis for the food at Brushstroke. He argues that kaiseki, which has existed in Japan for over 500 years, was the model for the modern tasting menu. Apparently, the French chefs responsible for the creation of the 1960's nouvelle cuisine got the idea for theirs degustation menus after eating in Kyoto, at formal restaurants like Kichisen and Kikunoi.
And though the tasting menu of today is not exactly diet fare, Bouley claims that kaiseki is one of the healthiest ways to eat. There are only two hard and fast rules of the style, as Bouley explains it. Kaiseki requires a certain order of dishes, which is conducive to healthy digestion, and seasonal cuisine, which maximizes nutrients. Even if Bouley's health claims don't hold up, though, it still tastes pretty great.
Watch the full episode on Charlie Rose's website.