The New York Times called Bill Granger “the egg master of Sydney,” and his signature scrambled eggs have wowed such Hollywood celebrities as Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio. After enjoying a successful decade-long career as a chef, restaurateur and author in Australia, the Melbourne native made his international debut last week in Shichirigahama, a popular beach getaway about an hour south of Tokyo. Prior to the launch of Bills, Granger gave Tokyoites a taste of his cooking last fall at a cafe space in Daikanyama, which was open only for the month of October.
In Japan, breakfast culture is a far cry from that in the States; going to a diner to grab a 24-hour morning meal is still a foreign concept. The situation in Australia was much the same before Granger opened his first restaurant, Bills, in 1993 in a suburb of Sydney. Acclaimed by celebrities and foodies alike, the eatery served as a launching pad for the chef, who has gone on to author bestselling cookbooks and host a popular TV show.
After putting breakfast on the Australian culinary map, the 38-year-old Granger now looks to do the same in Japan. “As a chef, I’ve always been inspired by the simplicity of Japanese food. I actually eat it 4-5 times a week,” he said. It’s also not surprising that Granger chose Shonan over a more central location. “I’m hoping to blend the restaurant into the relaxed beach culture where people can be surrounded by nature and have a wonderful dining experience.”
Unlike foreign chefs who change their formula to suit local tastes, Granger promises to keep his cooking true to form, including his signature scrambled eggs, ricotta pancakes and sweet corn fritters. “My dishes are soft, sensitive, simple and universal,” he says.
Granger’s specialty may be Western-style breakfasts, but he pays respect to Japanese culinary culture. During trips to Japan, while his wife and three young daughters check out the sights and go shopping, the chef can be found in local restaurants enjoying yakitori, tonkatsu, ramen and other dishes. “My kids love Kiddy Land and my wife loves Isetan,” he says. “But the food is always the highlight for me. I’m constantly amazed by restaurant culture here. Tokyo is definitely the world’s top when it comes to food, and being part of it is very exciting.”
So what makes a great breakfast? “A combination of freshness, comfort and relaxed attitude,” he says with a huge smile. In other words, a lot like his new restaurant in Shonan.
Scrambled Eggs (1 serving)
Ingredients •2 free-range eggs •1/3 cup cream •A pinch of salt •10g butter
Place eggs, cream and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
Melt butter in a non-stick frying pan over high heat, taking care not to burn the butter.
Pour in egg mixture and cook for 20 seconds, or until gently set around the edge. Stir the eggs with a wooden spoon, gently bringing the egg mixture on the outside of the pan to the center. The idea is to fold the eggs rather than to scramble them. Leave to cook for 20 seconds longer and repeat the folding process.
- When the eggs are just set, turn out onto a plate and serve with hot toast.
Ricotta Pancakes (6-8 servings)
Ingredients •1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese •3/4 cup milk •4 free-range eggs, separated •1 cup plain flour •1 teaspoon baking powder •A pinch of salt •50g butter (for garnish) •Sliced banana •Powdered sugar
Put ricotta cheese, milk and egg yolks in a bowl and mix lightly.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and add the ricotta mix.
Place egg whites in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites through batter in two batches, with a metal spoon.
Lightly grease a large non-stick frying pan with a small portion of the butter and drop 2 tablespoons of batter per cake into the pan (don’t cook more than 3 per batch). Cook over a low to medium heat for 2 minutes, or until cakes have golden undersides. Turn pancakes and cook on the other side.
- Serve on a plate immediately with sliced banana. Dust with powdered sugar.
Tips from Bill
• Always use free-range eggs • Don’t stir the ingredients too much because that will make the pancake hard • Add a slice of honeycomb butter and a dash of maple syrup for an extra indulgence This article originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp)© Japan Today