Harunobu Inukai is Chef/Restauranteur of Blancharu Restaurant in Sydney
LEIGH HUDSON: Hello Chef Haru, it’s good to see you again. Thanks very much for giving us this interview.
Your popular restaurant Blancharu is described as modern elegant Japanese French cuisine. How would you describe Blancharu cuisine?
CHEF HARU: Blancharu is not about fine dining. We want to make good food, simple but really good. We are in a neighbourhood area, so we are a local restaurant … no tablecloths… solid wooden tables handmade in Tasmania. We want to give an at home feeling with friendly service. We have a lot of regulars, some even come three times a week.
HUDSON: You have worked at Bilson’s, Ampersand, and also under Joel Robuchon in classical French cuisine. Osaka trained with many years of hotel experience in Japan and Australia. Who have been the biggest influences on you in the creation of “Haru cuisine”?
CHEF HARU: Each chef was different. Tony Bilson is the godfather of French cuisine in Australia. I learnt many things from him.
I worked at Robuchon for 3 years from 6:30am to midnight every day. It nearly killed me! Robuchon was very strict, always how many grams, always manual measurements, always according to recipe with exact cooking times… It was a good training ground.
Also I like Escoffier. He wrote the book “Le Guide Culinaire” a hundred years ago in 1902. I have a Japanese translation version printed in 1969. I look for new ideas, some people make fusion food but the flavours don’t match. In my set menus, I try to make one dish to go well with the next dish.
I was born in Nagano-ken, in Matsumoto city. My father would go fishing for fresh fish even in winter and look for seasonal vegetables. I am very lucky my parents taught me a lot about good food and flavour.
HUDSON: Your signature dish “Spatchcock en croûte de sel a la Haru” is absolutely delicious. What was your inspiration in creating this dish?
CHEF HARU: Robuchon has a similar dish with lamb rack. I wanted to do it with spatchcock so I added herbs that go with spatchcock like rosemary and garlic.
HUDSON: For young chefs starting out that want to specialise in fine dining, where do you recommend for them to work to receive good training?
CHEF HARU: Of course Robuchon, but also in France …. Astrance. Pascal is a 3 star Michelin chef, very clever. He likes Japanese food … his French food is more similar to Japanese food … no cream sauce. He also likes to use Indian spice. I worked with him at Ampersand.
HUDSON: Your involvement in the Iron Chef dinners in Sydney has also led to you cooking at Iron Chef Sakai’s restaurant, La Rochelle in Tokyo. What was it like to cook at Chef Sakai’s restaurant?
CHEF HARU: It was a lot of pressure, cooking in my home country. Sakai is very famous and very kind as well. Many staff in the kitchen and waitstaff have been there for 20 years. He has a lot of respect in Japan and also a lot of respect amongst his staff.
HUDSON: What is your favourite meal that you cook and eat at home?
CHEF HARU: I like raamen and udon… and Japanese pickles – tsukemono.
HUDSON: Finally, every chef has their favourite knives. What is your favourite?
CHEF HARU: I like Nenox knives. I have one given to me by Sakai san.
You can try Chef Haru’s famous spatchcock dish at his restaurant Blancharu:
Shop 1, 21 Elizabeth Bay Road,
Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011 Australia
T : +61 2 9360 3555
E : firstname.lastname@example.org
Blancharu restaurant is now closed.