CHEFS LIFE: WALLY AREVALO

December 19, 2016

As part of our #ChefsLife series we took time out to chat to our long term friend Wally Arevalo Founder and Director of both Molecular Sushi and his latest venture LabViar. His is an amazing story of sushi and travel. Here's what we talked about.

HOW AND WHEN DID YOU START IN THE INDUSTRY?

Around 12 years ago, when I was working as a photographer, I tried some of the most amazing sushi after one of the fashion shows at a famous hotel resort that has its own sushi restaurant. I got chatting to the chef to congratulate him and asked if he had seen the show. He answered that he was busy preparing the catering, so we made a deal. I handled a CD with pictures and he gave me a massive sushi boat. The following day I wanted more and he invited me to the kitchen to teach me how to make sushi. We repeated this everyday for a month and I realised that cooking was something I wanted to get into too.

 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF COOKING AND WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE?

My cooking style is molecular gastronomy, hence the name of our brand ‘Molecular Sushi’. I draw a lot of my inspiration from Heston Blumenthal who uses the same techniques. I’d also like to mention Jiro Ono, who has got three Michelin stars. The tradition and the future meets in both of them, which reminds me of the way that Tokyo draws itself on the same mix.

 

WHAT IS YOUR SIGNATURE DISH, OR FAVOURITE THING TO COOK?

My signature dish is lobster tempura, marinated in a spicy passion fruit sauce roll in 24 carat gold leaf, topped with ponzu caviar

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD TO HAVE COOKED FOR YOU?

I once visited the Ninja Akasaka in Tokyo, where I tasted a dish that blew my mind. It was a black cod, marinated in miso on a black tempura butter crunch, served on a small grill stone. When I had it for the first time, I remember seeing what looked like charcoal and a red light at the bottom, simulating a real grill. I was looking for the main meal, which after a while I realised was inside the charcoal. It was outstanding. Their yuzu martini with collagen jelly, topped with gold flakes, was the perfect match. These guys know what they are doing.

 

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES THAT PEOPLE MAKE WHEN COOKING ASIAN FOOD?

The one thing I can never understand or agree with is those who serve Japanese with Korean or Chinese food. Kimchi sushi? No thanks.

 

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST TRENDS YOU’VE SEEN DURING YOUR TIME IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY? 

The rise in the number of vegans, without doubt.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE INGREDIENTS WHEN COOKING ASIAN FOOD? 

 Number one is rice. 80% of what makes a perfect sushi is the rice. The other four ingredients would be fresh fish, crispy seaweed, fresh and ripe vegetables and sauces like ponzu or soy sauce.

 

IF YOU COULD COOK FOR ANYONE IN THE WORLD, ALIVE OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU MAKE THEM?

 I’d love to cook for both Nikola Tesla and Elon Musk. Using molecular gastronomy techniques, I’d make an omakase mix of sushi. This would be served on our ‘Tokyo three plate’, which consists of an acrylic plate with an LED light built-in and flower essence drops on dry ice. This would definitely give them a multi-sensory experience.

 

WHAT’S THE ONE KITCHEN GADGET YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT? 

Sushi knife. It’s an extension of the body to all sushi chefs.

 

Sushi Stu Director of SushiSushi with Wally at Hyper Japan 2011

WHICH RESTAURANT DO YOU MOST ENJOY EATING AT ON YOUR NIGHT OFF? 

I love going to the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt hotel in Tokyo. The vibes, breath-taking views, food, live music and international young crowds are just amazing. It has everything. I could spend every day of my life there.

 

IN YOUR VIEW, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST TRENDS COMING UP IN 2017? 

Watch out for the rise of LabViar, which is an alternative to the traditional caviar. It’ll be made in our lab and consist of classic sushi ingredients including ponzu sauce, teriyaki, soy sauce, ginger, wasabi and goma. It’ll also have some fruity flavours to match with the sushi fusion rolls.






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