This week, Morina talks to a man who she sees in the restaurant frequently, but it turns out that this man, Oreki Ei is actually the dessert chef for Festa. I’m not sure why he wasn’t introduced earlier, but it seems like the Festa is an unconventional business in many senses, and if Ei isn’t in the kitchen when Morina is working, it is possible that they may have not been introduced. He’s shown to be fond of spending time with ladies and that’s why he likes being in charge of desserts; he can prepare his dishes for the day and then spend time interacting with the customers.
We briefly see a dish of Chicken Milanese, which is thinly pounded chicken covered in breadcrumbs and herbs which has been fried.
In Australia, we’d call a similar preparation schnitzel, but it seems to have lots of other regional names like chicken fried steak, or chicken milanesa. The idea of crumbing and frying chicken or other pieces of meat is clearly popular around the world! In Australia schnitzels (usually chicken, but sometimes other meats such as veal or pork) are quite popular foods at pubs and clubs and often served with chips and a side salad. Here the Chicken Milanese seems to be served with a side of some vegetables together with a slice of lemon.
Maro tells Morina that his father the manager hired Ei in Italy, and that Maro feels that he’s wasting his talents at Festa because he’s a talented cook. Morina tries to cheer Maro up by saying that he has the potential to be a great cook himself when he’s older and that it’s okay that people are cheering him on. Even in this short time, Maro has been shown to be full of doubts about reaching his goals and potential in spite of his skills, which can make him short-tempered and prickly at times.
We get to see the chefs preparing pasta dough. Fresh pasta is made from flour, eggs, salt, and sometimes a little olive oil. To get all of the different shapes shown, a pasta machine with a variety of fittings would be used. Fresh pasta is more supple and has a much faster cooking time than dried pasta, and is quite tasty, but time-consuming to make. I think that it would definitely make the cuisine at Festa extra enjoyable if they have freshly-made pasta.
Morina asks Ei about why he’s working at Festa when he has the skills to work at a top-class hotel, but Ei plays down his abilities and says that Maro is lying, and that he’s well suited to working here.
The visuals in combination with my limited Japanese skills have confirmed that the ending theme each week talks about the preparation of a dish mentioned during the runtime of the episode. This just increases my disappointment that there is no karaoke so that I can tell exactly what is going on. There are probably delicious food facts that I am missing out on!
The dish Morina tries this week is tiramisu. It’s name translates to pick me up, and it’s a dessert with layers of sponge fingers, mascarpone cheese beaten with eggs and cream, coffee, sometimes liqueur, and cocoa powder on top. Tiramisu is actually a fairly recent invention in its current form, with no recipe books prior to the 1980s mentioning a dish by this name. The actual inventor is in dispute, but the recipe is thought to have come into being at some point in a restaurant in the late 1960s. I’ve actually made tiramisu before, but as it’s a coffee based dessert and I don’t like coffee, I didn’t really enjoy it! I don’t think that it’s a bad dessert, it’s just not really to my taste. Maro talks about the mascarpone cheese and mentions that fresh cheeses like this have only been available recently in Japan, previously only processed cheese was available, but the fresh cheese makes a big difference for Italian cooking.
It seems like the episodes thus far have been fairly formulaic as we’ve got to know a bit more about a new character and a new dish each week. This isn’t bad as there’s a limitation to what can be done in a four minute episode and we’ve also gradually got to know a little bit about the existing staff, plus I think that a show which features food this prominently can almost never be dull! As it seems like we’ve (probably) met all the staff in the store, I wonder what next week’s episode holds?