HEAVEN’S SAKE

Dish - - The Business Of Dinner -

Masu’s res­tau­rant man­ager, 43-year old Fumi Nakatani, has been awarded a New Zealand-first in sake knowl­edge, hav­ing achieved the ad­vanced level sake qual­i­fi­ca­tion with a dis­tinc­tion pass rate from the Lon­don-based Wine & Spirit Ed­u­ca­tion Trust (WSET). Chef and restau­ra­teur Nic Watt is in­cred­i­bly proud of Nakatani’s achieve­ment. “It’s tes­ta­ment to his com­mit­ment to Masu and fur­ther­ing the knowl­edge and aware­ness of Ja­panese cul­ture in Auck­land’s din­ing com­mu­nity,” says Watt.

Fumi’s love of sake be­gan early. “I re­mem­ber see­ing my grand­fa­ther drink sake out of an old, ce­ramic cup. He let me try some as a child. I can’t re­call the taste, but I’ll never for­get the smile on his face when he drank it.” His favourite sakes are the fuller-bod­ied Yama­hai and Ki­moto styles. “They of­ten have more umami and earth­i­ness,” he says. “Sake has a sub­tle, clean taste that com­ple­ments food per­fectly. I tend to match sake with an umami dish like mush­room with gar­lic but­ter or a beau­ti­ful beef fil­let steak.”

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