Where did the idea to create a Japanese food truck come from?
I won Masterchef contest with a mainly Japanese menu; it was more a bonding between French and Japanese cuisine. After the contest I analysed the market and I exploited it.
What do you like about Japanese food and where and when did you first meet Japanese food?
My first memory is my extreme dislike for sushi. After a couple of years I met the best sushi chef in Romania, who took me under his wing, he taught me the mysteries and the traditions of making sushi. I started to read Japanese literature compulsively, I felt in love with Yasunari Kawabata, then I understood the purity of the culture and cuisine from Japan. Finally I fell in love with sushi.
What do you make of this “truck food” revolution that is sweeping the world? Why do you think this kind of food is so successful?
It’s inaccessible! It’s a culture that’s much less accessible in our country so we are bringing it to every part of Romania.
Can you give us a bit of back story about how you set up your food truck, we know about your master chef success but what about the business of getting the truck and kitting it out and where did you first operate – a festival?
Let’s not forget that my main job is a dentist. I met with my cousin Adrian who is a real estate developer and we thought about how we could launch a business that was also a hobby, which would lift us out of the routine humdrum. We bought a holiday trailer and we transformed it into the first Japanese food truck in Romania. Then I met with some of the most important event planners from the country Florin Itu and Robert Noana, who immediately embraced my concept. I created a menu which blends 2 Japanese social classes, yakitori and sushi. That’s also where the name comes from: Nori Yakitori. The first event I cooked at was in Mamaia Nord, a high class location in Romania. There I took my first orders with tears in my eyes.
What have you got coming up over the summer – I guess you’re busy with festivals?
The summer of 2018 is fully booked from April through till October. We have street food events but also music festivals such as Neversea, Summerwell, Untold and so on.
Do you envisage launching more trucks with other kinds of cuisine?
After the success with Nori Yakitori we will launch a food truck serving tempura sandwiches, each one in a black bun coloured with cuttlefish ink and related dressings.
What is the favourite dish that you cook currently and can you give us a sneaky insight into your recipe please?
This questions reminds me of an interview with famous cooks from USA. All of them were asked about their favourite recipe for chicken and all of them gave examples with grandiose recipes. Just one of them said the absolute, simple recipe for the fried chicken. So I follow that example: tempura fried chicken, dipped in soy sauce, sake, garlic, ginger.
Do you have an anecdote about your time working your truck?
On the very first food truck opening day, Romanian superstar Loredana Groza wanted sushi. I remember we were all terrified but, at the same time, excited.