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Minimalist gastronomy with Dylan Watson-Brawn

Fusing Japanese gastronomy with established French cooking techniques, innovative culinary collective Jung, Grün and Blau operates from a loft space workshop in one of Berlin’s developing neighbourhoods. Founding member Dylan Watson-Brawn hails from Canada, and at 19 has already honed his skills in the kitchens of world renowned restaurants – from Noma in Copenhagen to RyuGin in Tokyo. We caught up with him to find out what role quality plays in his cooking and how his inspiring career got started.

What made you decide to drop out of school in pursuit of a prestigious culinary career?

My father took me to Japan for vacation, where I ended up staying to work at [Michelin star awarded restaurant] RyuGin. It was hard work: days were long and we didn’t get much sleep. But every day we got to prepare the most beautiful ingredients from all the corners of Japan. That is enough motivation to continue on. At the end of each day there was this feeling when the service finished that you had just been part of something special, and that got me hooked.

Jung, Grün and Blau, the private kitchen you founded, takes its cue from Japanese minimalist cuisine. In what way do your experiences at RyuGin restaurant inform the way you interpret this style of cooking in your own kitchen?

It seems simple but there is a lot of work behind this cuisine. The focus is on the taste of each ingredient. I learned to treat food with respect and appreciate the outstanding quality by buying food from ethical and local providers. A bit of extra time goes a long way in supporting your local food scene. It is important to ask about the origins of your product, even if you don’t know a lot about food. That said, when speaking with farmers it quickly becomes clear who really cares about the products they are growing or selling.

So what do you look for and how do you go about finding the best ingredients to serve up?

We are trying to get the products as fresh as possible. Even if that means walking around Berlin and foraging herbs.

Your cuisine is also heavily influenced by French traditions. What do you like about French cooking?

I like the techniques – it's a lot of tradition and that makes it so special. I am a big fan of classic French roasting and braising. To me they are extremely relevant in my kitchen and creative process. Especially with fattier cuts of meat and tough, strongly flavoured vegetables.

What are essential ingredients for your cooking?

Katsuobushi [Japanese bonito flakes], the best salt and good butter and dairy. It’s all about the foundation – finding the best quality raw ingredients. It may sound corny, but your cooking can only be as good as the ingredients you use.

Can you suggest one kitchen investment piece for anyone who wants to get serious about cooking at home?

A PacoJet. This is a very important piece used in modern kitchens for making ice creams and so much more. It is an ice cream machine that slices while aerating a deeply frozen sorbet or ice cream base, turning it into a light and beautifully textured ice.

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