In a country where Zen has long been entwined in the cultural DNA of the nation, it is only natural that this elegant practise of appreciating simplicity is present in almost every product.
Zen art grew up around the philosophy of Zen Buddhism and became synonymous with the idea that simplicity is the path to enlightenment, that less is more. To free oneself from this world, Zen practitioners meditate, clearing their minds of superfluous thoughts and freeing themselves from human shackles. Zen teaches that you do not need extravagance to have a meaningful existence. While it is hard to articulately describe it, suffice it to say that Zen is an amalgamation of spirituality, education, culture, and creativity. In short, it is the primary catalyst for what makes Japan the creative capital of the world.
That catalyst is evident even in the design of a new kitchenware that is set to redefine cooking. Called the ANAORI kakugama, this is a pot carved from a solid block of carbon graphite. It is a ground breaking cooking tool that combines new technologies and natural materials into a unique design developed by Japanese brand ANAORI, a world leader in manufacturing carbon graphite products. ANAORI has successfully channelled its technological expertise and Japanese Zen sensibilities to create a revolutionary design into a meticulously crafted product. Sculpted into a minimalist cube and accented with chamfered edges inspired by Japanese tea ceremony architecture, the ANAORI kakugama revives the imo-gata (rounded bottom) pot shape that was popular until the middle of the Edo period (1603 – 1868).
The elegance is heightened by a lid of pure hinoki cypress, a symbol of Japanese cuisine’s respect for natural ingredients. The circular shape initially conceived for wood cooking is ideal for ensuring uniform heat distribution. With minimal intervention, nature works to enhance the essence of each ingredient, embodying the principle that cooking is in our second nature.
Multifunctional yet simple, the ANAORI kakugama respects the fundamental values of gastronomy: simplicity and effiiciency.
Carbon graphite emits an impressive five times higher far infrared than cast iron. This capacity is maximized in the solid cube of ANAORI kakugama, a cooking tool with superior heat retention that rivals even the far infrared emissivity achieved when cooking with charcoal. The kakugama can be used for grilling, simmering, poaching, frying and steaming. Its dual purpose lid locks in umami and can be used as a grilling pan.
In addition, the kaguyama retains the exceptional qualities of carbon graphite such as resistance to wear, heat and acids. As a result, regardless of the source of heat and the mode of cooking, the essence of each ingredient is retained.
In its quest to return to basics and unite a global community through ANAORI kakugama, ANAORI has surrounded itself with some of the world’s greatest chefs who share the same culinary philosophy, sensitivity and inspiration. These well-known personalities in the world of gastronomy, most of them Michelin starred and some of them also well known to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants followers, have joined this movement to develop new cooking techniques and influence the future of the culinary world.
This ambitious international project, named the Naturality Tour, features 24 impressive chefs over six months. The tour began on April 10, 2021 in Japan and makes a stop in Singapore at Colony restaurant, located on level three at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, best known for its masterfully created dishes that take diners through Singapore’s rich culinary history.
At Colony, three dishes created by Executive Chef Massimo Pasquarelli with the ANAORI kakugama are featured in the restaurant’s new menu. They include:
・ ANAORI Carbon Pu Walnut Bread, Ligurian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aged Balsamic Reduction
・ Black Vinegar Veal Ossobuco, braised in ANAORI Kagugama Carbon Pot
・ ANAORI Kagugama Warm Chocolate Fondant, Organic Egg Mascarpone, Espresso Granita, Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream.
This writer was among a group of food writing professionals invited to taste the launch of this revolutionary cookware and outstanding menu in its honour. While every single dish in the carefully created menu was outstanding, a special salute is hardly enough for Kakugama Warm Chocolate Fondant and the Black Vinegar Ossobuco. The latter made an “almost vegetarian” home chef like me want to invest in an ANAORI kakugama. At US$3,490.00 for the larger version of the two sizes (including shipping and taxes), the price can give pause to most shoppers, but it can last for generations, so I’m seriously thinking of it as a gift for my home chef daughter. A far better investment, in my practical mind, than fops like jewellery. There’s also a slightly smaller version available at US$3.4l $2,490.00.
Massimo Pasquarelli, Executive Chef of The Ritz Carlton, Millenia Singapore has become a firm believer. “It has been very interesting for me to experiment with the ANAORI kakugama in the kitchen. As I have discovered, the ANAORI kakugama brings many benefits to the cooking process. It has great heat retention ability and hence I have used this to bake the chocolate fondant dessert. The carbon graphite material also accelerates cooking time – the osso bucco takes half the usual time to cook, and the square shape of the kakugama ensures uniformity of the cooking,” he says.
For Indian food lovers, Chef Prateek Sadhu of Bombay’s Mask Restaurant has this to offer: “(One can make a) Gucchi (mushroom) Pulao without (even) adding water. Just add the rice, ghee, spices and morrel mushrooms. The entire process takes less than 30 minutes. The Anaori kakugama has a multi-purpose use and can go into the oven, can be used on the stove and the top lid even turns into a grill. Once it is hot you can turn off your stove or oven and the heat will cook the ingredients inside.”
Colony’s three dishes created in the ANAORI kakugama by Chef Pasquarelli give an insight into the gastronomic possibilities of cooking with this unique cooking tool designed for the professional chef as well as passionate home chefs. The special menu will be available for Vintage Champagne Brunch at Colony from now until mid-November 2021.
Reference price for 2 models of ANAORI kakugama:
ANAORI kakugama 5.1 l $3,490 USD (including shipping and taxes)
ANAORI kakugama 3.4l $2,490 USD (including shipping and taxes)
Available for preorder from April 14 on www.anaori.com