I did a rough count as to how many favorite foodie television shows I may want to cover in this series and by the time I include all the vast Japanese Variety style, actual cooking shows, documentary style, drama, anime and the few ended-but-was-super-great Legacy categories..., it's at least thirty and growing rapidly even after being pared down.
This would be my sixth sharing, another oldie but goodie cooking show I enjoy a lot. Chubaw Desuyo! (Official Site & Wiki Page), aka "Saturday Night Chubaw!" according to J-Wiki has been around since 1994 but I've only been a viewer for the last ten years maybe. I would credit many factors to its success but the unique format has certainly passed the test of two decades time.
As opposed to the more quiet Okazu no Cooking, this show starts with singing and dancing fridge vegetables. How cute! For me by now totally predictable (and the CG style a little "2000" maybe, ha) but something that still leaves a grin on my face.
The title takes some explaining but "Chubaw" which I'd prefer to spell "Chuubou" means a kitchen but more a professional galley style. Together with "Desuyo!" would sort of mean "It's the Kitchen (Galley)!" However fewer may know that the title also references a much older 70's hit comedy series from the same broadcast network called "Jikan Desuyo!" which the main host Sakai Masaaki was in.
Sakai-san seen on the right side is semi-jokingly addressed as "Kyosho" or 'maestro' on the show where although he is usually with the most experience, he is far from. Still, extremely multitalented as an actor, comedian, musician (originally from 60's The Spiders fame) and television personality, he often pulls off these first time dishes relatively intact. This roll of dice imperfectness I feel is another part of the show's charm. Then there is the rotating weekly guest who is usually a celebrity, but also can be anyone currently highlighted in the media. This episode's seen standing in the middle is gold medalist middleweight boxer Murata Ryouta. Along with current female assistant Masuda Erina, the day's trio tries to create the week's dish which happens to be Kani Lettuce Chahan (Crab & Lettuce Fried Rice).
The show also differs from others in that the focus is more on understanding general recipe concepts and process rather than documenting a precise list of ingredients. Frankly more my style, it's this X-factor of technique that is often left vague in written recipes and Chubaw Desuyo! goes full steam in delving right in...
Three restaurants and their respected chefs are chosen to help out through a prerecorded video feed and referred to as their coaches. This is really great because you get to see what are the things each do that are common as well as what may be done that is unique.
First topic touched was how all the coach chefs preferred the meatier Taraba Gani (Red King Crab) for its use. However steaming aromatics differed somewhat between where most used a combination of Shaoxing wine, ginger and leeks, and one chef used Shiso in addition to but without the wine.
The instructional video feeds are divided into segments and the team back at the set's actual chuubou goes through each with some comic relief provided by Sakai-san and casual interview of guest done by the assistant (who is a professional network announcer). She also takes role as a strict timekeeper to ensure a timely progression. Other techniques discussed were on how to have the all important flaky "para para" rice texture as well as proper sequence of seasoning, etc. Since other types of fried rice have often been covered, some of the tips may be redundant if you're a regular viewer but the information is always well narrated and useful.
Another short segment I enjoy within is the "Mirai no Kyosho," or "The Future Maestro." Here they introduce a young promising Padawan of one of the chef's and you get to see some of the unglamorous tedious and labor intensive jobs they do. Here, long after an intensive prep for a lunch buffet, the apprentice sears 10kg worth of beef chuck in two giant frying pans later to be used for a stew. がんばれ未来の巨匠！
Eventually the trio gets to the end of the dish's creation and it's finally time for tasting. The meal is paired with a drink from Suntory being that they are the main sponsor for the program.
The guest then gets to judge the fruit of labor with stars, three being max. Seems the fried rice reached beyond expectation this day, yay. 「星３つです！」 Everything gone over is done in a short 30-minute span btw.
Not too long ago the show featured the Menchi Katsu and wanted to include a few images before ending. I've yet to have a truly juicy version here outside of my kitchen. I experimented not too long ago with some success using gelatin in my updated recipe and wasn't surprised to see one of the chef's using aspic (as they often do in XLB). A beef consomme type to match the filling.
Another used straight up beef tallow. Either way my expectations of a good Menchi when cut looks like this...
A friendly note to a few local Japanese restaurants...? :P