But long before the show (and my blog), I had been collecting cookbooks of Kentaro, the show's main host. Prodigy son of the also famous longtime cooking personality Kobayashi Katsuyo, he dabbles in music but is known as a proficient illustrator and graphic designer as well. I remember being immediately taken by his rustic but youthful style. His books always seemed to stand out more than others on the shelves, whether it be the way the dish had been coordinated and photographed or the soft, toothy paper it was printed on. A sense of warmth that felt quite unique at the time.
Multitalented, the show would be a natural transition and I was really excited to first hear about it then. The title Danshi Gohan roughly translates to "Men's Meals," or maybe "Men's Cooking," and it very much retains Kentaro's consistent style -- a more masculine flaired, however done with plenty of cleverness and thoughtfulness that takes it far from being trivially described as the term say, "Dude Food"...
Cohost is Kokubun Taichi from band TOKIO and the chemistry between the duo is really great with plenty of jokes, puns and laughter.
These first series of images are from a much earlier show back in September 2009 (before aired in HDTV format) and Kentaro is the one seen wearing a hat. In this episode they go over a fun Shimeji Mushroom Furai (furai = any panko crusted fry) as well as a Wild Mushroom Risotto. The show continued with successful season renewals in addition to cookbooks of their own.
An extremely unfortunate incident, in February of 2012 Kentaro was in a near fatal motorcycle accident that had left him in a coma. Almost exactly one year from the event, February of this year, I've heard that he had finally regained consciousness and is in rehabilitation. がんばれ ケンタロウ！！Really wishing for a full recovery soon.
In Kentaro's absence there had been several monthly guests on the program but eventually the full-time replacement had become Kurihara Shimpei, another prodigy son of yet another famous female cooking personality Kurihara Harumi (J-Wiki link), she often compared to as the Martha Stuart of Japan.
Shimpei's forte I feel is a little more rooted in traditional Wa-shoku meals, but from what I've seen all are as interesting with modern twists that had originally kept me a fan of the show. Many of both Shimpei and Kentaro's methods were often supposed handed down family recipes which made it more personal and great to know as well. Below Taichi moments before giving the manly umee! (ウメエ！！) cheer stamp of approval.
I still regularly use Kentaro's foolproof method of cooking Japanese Hamburg Steak of post-steaming with water for an extra juicy patty, and my to-try list of Shimpei's recipes grow by the week. The recent Miso Marinated Chicken Stir-fry with Snap Peas and Goma Katsuo, a sesame bonito tuna marinade I can't wait to try. Hope to share as a cooking post one day. :)