Dave’s Memoir in Kamiyama

Chef in Residence

昨年3月からChef in Residence(CIR) プログラムで神山に滞在中のデイブ。神山に来て1年弱、デイブが神山に来るまで・そして来てからの自分自身の変化・日々感じていることについて振り返ってくれました。


ニューヨーク・ホワイトプレーンズ生まれ。19歳から地元の食堂で料理を始める。料理学校Napa Valley Cooking School(カリフォルニア)で9ヶ月のプログラムを修了後、Gramercy Tavern(ニューヨーク)にてキャリアをスタート。すぐ後、料理の基本的で純粋な側面により迫りたいと、Marlow and Sons(ブルックリン)にて働く。ここで地域の生産者を見つけ・支えることの重要性を感じるように。共同料理長であった期間も含め4年後には、Andrew TarlowとRomans(ブルックリン)を開く。8年に渡り、季節の野菜や持続可能な方法で飼育された肉などを仕入れ、そこから着想を得たイタリア料理提供した。こうした中で、イタリア北東部の農家や生産者との繋がりを深めていった。
David Gould:
Born in White Plains, NY, he began cooking in local kitchens at the age of 19. Upon completion of a 9 month culinary program at the Napa Valley Cooking School in California, he took his first job in New York City at the Gramercy Tavern. Soon afterwards, in hopes to get closer to the more fundamental and pure aspects of the craft he took a job at Marlow and Sons, in Brooklyn. It was here that he began to learn the importance of seeking and supporting local communities of producers. After four years, including time spent as co-chef of Marlow and Sons and Diner, he opened Romans with Andrew Tarlow. There he spent eight years cooking Italian food inspired and informed by seasonal produce and sustainably raised meats. Along the way continuing to foster strong bonds with farmers and producers throughout the northeast and Italy.






O.K. If I try, I can remember the first day I arrived in Japan. It was mid February 2018. After the longest flight of my life I nervously navigated my way through Tokyo station and out onto its neighboring streets. I remember losing my way in the labyrinth. And the sinking feeling upon arriving in my tiny and frigid Air BnB. I collected myself, stretched and spent the next 6 hours in a half-conscious state buried under every piece of linen my host had provided. In this same state I proceeded onto the second leg of my journey, a short yet nightmarishly turbulent flight to Tokushima airport. As it turns out every subsequent flight I have taken in between these two ports has been equally treacherous. Perhaps the Japanese are a bit more cavalier in regards to their landing approach? This feeling would come to take on a much deeper meaning to me as I began to understand the Japanese people and culture.



In Tokushima I was greeted by Taichi and Danny, the presiding chef of the program I was to embark on.  It was undoubtedly an awkward time, mostly due to me being who I am, but also perhaps jet-lag? On our way out to Kamiyama we made two stops.  The first was an elegantly adorned coffee shop which I thought was “okay,” and the second was a bustling Udon restaurant. I suppose the novelty of the experience was thrilling to me at the time and I probably slurped down every strand of gluten with gusto.  But after this, and, regrettably, many many more udon experiences I would come to truly despise it. I apologize to the fiercely loyal fanatic / all of the Japanese people. On the other hand, I have come to truly love the old style Japanese coffee house.



So, with a belly full of iriko-laced dashi and dark-roasted brew we hopped back into Taichi’s car.  Perhaps it was at this moment that I detected the slightly putrid aroma that prevails to this day in it’s cabin.  As we drove the gray / khaki haze of Tokushima city gave away to clear, blue mountain skies. One can really experience the shifting air quality on this voyage and I suppose, in general, the striking transition from city to country.  To this day I feel deeply comforted by the approach to Kamiyama.




I should say, briefly, that I was not at all clear as to what I was doing in my own skin, let alone Japan.  After about 14 years of cooking professionally in NYC, many of those spent as an executive chef, I was disenfranchised.  Somewhere along the way I lost track of things like purpose, awareness, and perhaps gratitude at the very act of breathing.  To explain my path to this condition would require countless pages of reflection, but there I was. And all I can say is that I would not  take back any one the moments along the way.



So then I was in Kamiyama, with a knife bag and a suitcase full of fancy NYC clothes, none of which, I would come to find, were warm enough.  Have I mentioned that Kamiyama is cold? I mean, really cold. As I sit and write this memoir almost one year in I cringe at the thought of the long freezing night ahead.  Soon I will fill my hot water coozy and grip it for dear life on my futon as I watch my breath dissipate into the air. I will pray for a quick and undisturbed sleep, as a mid evening journey downstairs to the bathroom would be like a polar expedition.  I was exhausted and naturally extremely nervous. And so would begin my post as Chef in Residence of Food Hub Project.



In the days to come I would spend much of my time trying to remember the names of my colleagues and the most basic and critical Japanese words.  Particularly the pre and post meal blessings. And I felt pretty confident with chopsticks until I realized that it was impolite to leave a single grain of rice in my bowl.  I quickly understood that if I was going to have any problems they would stem from my inner psychosis. I say this because the FHP members showed me nothing but support, acceptance and admiration.  I suppose coming from an NYC headspace of constant competition and “measuring up” I could not imagine the existence of such a warm people. And so I’ve found that the biggest challenge I’ve had to face is the re-programming of my own behavior.




That is not to say that the process was always of changing my viewpoint, but also of finding a great deal of space for acceptance and tolerance.  I came from a fiercely challenging work background, but within that I had a great deal of control. I was always aware of the depth of the task at hand and the potential for all manner of fowl-ups and unexpected calamities.  So at first I found it virtually unacceptable to go into an off-site cooking event with very little if only last minute knowledge of what ingredients and space I had and who would be assisting me. Over time I came to learn that things would always work out.  The plane would land. And everyone around me would be smiling, so why shouldn’t I? I have witnessed a perseverance in the approach to life and work here that has been truly inspiring.



In my time here I have cooked for a group of 230 over wood fire in sweltering heat.  I’ve cooked spaghetti con pomodoro e alici for Teppei Ono. I’ve fallen in love. I’ve quit smoking and started again and quit again.  I’ve paced around my kitchen talking to myself about myself. But at the moment what I really feel most grateful for is having the opportunity to re-discover food and community and their critical interplay.





I had forgotten why I loved food and cooking and eating.  The grind of creating and executing and managing in a city that consumes and discards relentlessly can really strip one’s spirit.  Or at least it stripped mine. So all of a sudden the act of handing a small child a cup of handmade yuzu mascarpone ice cream and watching her expression change as she tastes it feels very special.  Sharing a meal of chewy wild boar soup over a hot plate amongst friends is a revelation. Beer tastes colder, and tea hotter. Every chance to eat and share food rewards infinitely. It feels precious.  I can only attribute this to the spirit and nature of the people I’ve had the chance to live and work with here in Kamiyama. Nothing is taken for granted and it seems every chance to cook and eat together is a celebration.  For a long time I approached cooking and eating only with judgement, and now it is with warmth and appreciation.




I sometimes wonder if I am alone in this experience here.  If my family at Food Hub Project have this sense that I have.  I have always believed that it takes great sacrifice to produce food for people.  Those of us who have chosen to grow food, preserve food, and share food have undoubtedly chosen a life-consuming task.  It certainly requires delicate handling to maintain passion, integrity and determination when the work never stops. I understand the race for relevance in food.  Especially in NYC, where you’re only as good as the next new thing. And I feel a pressure here in Kamiyama(Food Hub Project) to strive for that same relevance. Yet I think the most relevant initiative is the preservation of real, natural food culture.  To my mind, this is the task of Food Hub Project, and thusly those involved should rest assured that they are on the right path and always doing the best work. I feel grateful to be part of it.

(English by David Gould, 翻訳:種本)



いただきます編集部 (一番、食いしん坊です。)


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