May 19, 2017
We’ve been working on this video for a long time. It’s something very special in our hearts, and I really hope you like it. We mentioned it before, and this is it, this is the video where Martina talked about Building A Ladder and pushing through her pain to climb a hill and experience the best orange of her life. And I think because those memories are so special to us, we took longer on this video than we had anticipated, but now we’re ready to share our time with Yosuke Suga, the mind behind SUGALABO, and one of the coolest dudes we ever met.
We didn’t talk a lot about it in the video, but Yosuke Suga is a super talented guy. He has worked with Joël Robuchon for 16 years, and at the age of 26, he became the Executive Chef L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Tokyo. He consecutively opened Ateliers in LA, NY, Taipei, and Paris as the project leader, and then in 2015 he returned to Japan to launch his laboratory SUGALABO Inc. He was also Iron Chef France! He is an incredibly talented man but he is also super humble and surprisingly approachable. We were really lucky to meet him and to be invited along on his adventures to seek out the treasured ingredients of Japan.
When Suga travels, he brings back souvenirs from his trips, and instead of showing you a slideshow of pictures, he creates a dinner for you. It’s like going to a friend’s place for a great dinner party after they’ve been away for a while, and he shows you all of the cool techniques he’s learned. I feel like we try to do the same thing as well: when we travel, we want to show you our memories, our souvenirs from our travels. Both we and Suga and hope to inspire you to travel and to experience these things for yourselves. The big difference though is that Suga is famous and respected and talented and we’re just…hungry.
We’ve got some pictures from our time here as well, and I’d like to share them, because honestly this is the prettiest place I’ve ever eaten. It’s just stunning, and so easy to take pictures of. So here’s a bunch. Some of these photos are ours but many are taken by our friend Yohei who is just an incredible guy. first from us going to the Dog Onsen and having some oranges:
Next, here’s a gallery of us going to the paper and pottery places, and also us getting more citrus:
And lastly, here are some photos of the food, which of course we can’t skip out on showing. I just realized that this is a hecka lotta pictures, but this was nearly 7 days of shooting so we’ve got a lot to share. Here they are:
Ah, there are so many things to describe here, so I’ll go the route of saying that it was a profound and overwhelming experience and I’m trying to replicate that by flooding you with pictures. Does that make sense? If you want to call me out for being lazy…you’d be correct!
One of the things that’s hard for us to explain is just how different food tastes in Japan. My parents are visiting Japan now, and I had a surprising moment with them. They told me that when they watch our videos, I keep saying that this is the best, that is the best, everything I eat is the best version of that thing that I ever ate. My parents thought I was full of it. But after a few days here in Japan, they told me that they now understand. Everything they’re eating now is the best they’ve ever had. Everything I’m eating in Japan is the best I ever had. And hanging out with Suga, when he’s going out on the hunt for the perfect orange, the perfect potato, the perfect crab, it’s overwhelming. Food here is something special. Hopefully you can come here and try it out.
If you’d like to book a table at SUGALABO, I’m afraid that it might be very difficult to do. He only opens once a month or so and since it is such a rare and small restaurant, it is referral only. That means that you have to know somebody who is a regular who can bring you in on their reservation. Suga told us his reasons for this, but we didn’t include it in the video because I didn’t want to take away from the message of appreciating food. Basically, his restaurant isn’t really a restaurant. It’s open randomly throughout the year, sometimes only a few times a month, because Suga is out traveling and studying most of the time. When it is open, though, it’s open for his friends and people that he knows. If Suga knows you, he might know your tastes and preferences. At the same time, it’s not just food that he’s giving you. When you eat at SUGALABO, and they bring you a plate, Suga comes over and explains where he got the ingredients. One of the lemons, he mentioned, comes from a man who created that kind of lemon. I don’t know what it takes to create your own kind of lemon, but this man does it, and Suga had to convince him to sell him some of those lemons so he could share them with us at his laboratory. The point is, the food that he brings is really special, and if he doesn’t know you, he’s not sure if you’ll appreciate it. I’ve been to some nice restaurants with loud ass people that didn’t give a damn about the food, but just blathered the whole time. I’d be upset if I had some rare ingredients and strangers ate it without giving a damn. So, I understand Suga in that respect: he’s serving food to his friends that he knows will like the food.
That’s it for now, everyone. If you’ve got any questions about Suga or about our trip or about this food, I’d love to answer it in the comments. I know I missed out on a lot because this has been such a huge project. But I’m glad it’s finally here, and I hope you enjoyed it :D
One last thing. We have to give a special thanks to Fujingaho Magazine for allowing us to tag along during their photoshoot of Suga. They have a special monthly feature of Suga on his adventures. Check out their magazine while in Japan or check out their website here.