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.”