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Francisco Bellissimo Meets Hidenori Fujimoto, Japanese-Fusion Chef

  Hidenori Fujimoto,
Hicos Seafood & Woodland

Address: 2153-2 Fuchisaki-ko, Tonosho-cho, Shodo-gun
Tel: (0879)-62-5619
(from overseas: 81-879-62-5619)
Here’s what I had for lunch: a creative fusion based on traditional Japanese cuisine, each dish reflecting the chef’s inventive ideas. The balance of ingredients and nutrition was superb and it made for a very satisfying meal.   With the feast laid out before me, I couldn’t resist. I just had to take a photo, with the chef’s permission of course. As I press the shutter, I’m thinking, “I’d love to adapt some of this to Italian cuisine!”   Here I’m about to consume the chef’s homemade sesame tofu. Apparently, he orders his sesame with the outer shell removed and just the ground kernels. That explains why this tofu, despite being made with black sesame, is white instead of gray.

The joy of creative cuisine prepared from Shodoshima delicacies

One of the things I was looking forward to most this trip was having lunch in Shodoshima, blessed as it is with so many fresh local ingredients. Following a lead from a Shodoshima fan, I chose Hicos Seafood & Woodland, which specializes in Japanese fusion cuisine made with local ingredients. The chef, Mr. Fujimoto, visits the fish market every morning to pick freshly caught fish for his menu. This is followed by a trip to the vegetable market for freshly picked produce. With these, he conjured up a truly fabulous feast. I had trouble deciding where to start!   Every dish was deftly designed to enhance the flavor and presentation of the main ingredient. The entr?e du jour was sole meuni?re. In Shodoshima, sole is called geta, named after the shape of the traditional flat wooden clogs people used to wear. The chef’s original tartar sauce, flavored with a hint of tarragon, estragon and other herbs, was a perfect match. And the sweet, tangy tomato sauce over the cuttlefish escabeche was a marvelously refreshing touch!   The rice, too, was delicious. Apparently, it’s a rare variety grown only in the terraced fields of Shodoshima’s Nakayama area. Not only was the food refined to perfection but the nutritional balance was excellent and the presentation, including the tableware, was artfully done. I can see why it is so popular with women. “The food I make should make every woman happy.” That’s my policy. I suspect that it may be Chef Fujimoto’s policy, too. And with so many delectable fresh ingredients readily available, this island would make any chef happy.