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Celebrity Australian chef introduces Japan to the pleasure of breakfast

50 Comments
By Yusuke Takahashi

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

  1. Place eggs, cream and salt in a bowl and whisk together.

  2. Melt butter in a non-stick frying pan over high heat, taking care not to burn the butter.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  1. Put ricotta cheese, milk and egg yolks in a bowl and mix lightly.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and add the ricotta mix.

  3. Place egg whites in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites through batter in two batches, with a metal spoon.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


50 Comments
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Ha ha, "Western style" breakfasts, loaded with fat, sodium, cholesterol, and tons of calories, can only contribute to obesity!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Eggs, cream (or milk) and butter in both of the recipes. rjd_jr may be on to something. Fat, sodium, cholesterol and heart attacks to follow. If Granger were to eat only that, he'd be the Paul Prudhomme of Oz. Maybe he could add some veggies to his relaxing and comfortable breakfasts.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If there's one thing Japan does right, it's breakfast. Cooked at home, eaten by the family together, nutritiously balanced -- well, maybe a tad on the salty side. Not a muffin snagged on the way to worked and choked down on the subway.

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Nessie, I want to disagree with you but, technically, you're right in my opinion because you didn't mention taste.

I spent a little over a month onboard a JMSDF ship back in '97 (JDS Kongou) and I couldn't even walk passed the mess decks in the morning. I love fish, but not before 11:00 a.m.. I love miso, soup, but not before 11:00 a.m.. And then there's natto...

Taka

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All that fat in the breakfast may be OK as a treat on Sundays, but as everyday fare it's aiming, as others have said, for obesity and a heart attack. Muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt, can't beat it for breakfast.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Grand eggs! (Everything in moderation.)

As for the hotto kehki, don't know how Bill is going to sell the idea of what is considered a snack food as breakfast. Perhaps he might trade the ricotta for some kamabokko.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Taka, I love fish and miso soup for breakfast. Great for hangovers, too. Even the seaweed.

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Nessie, Well, if you are having fish and miso soup for breakfast after a night of drinking, I think you're safe as far as the 11:00 a.m. thing goes. ;-) If I drink enough to have a hangover, I'm not getting up to the crack of noon. Having two kids kind of put a stop to a lot of that however.

Actually, I prefer Cleo's idea of breakfast + coffee. LOTS of coffee. Not frappa-mocha-latte-coffee like substance. Coffee.

Taka

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jambon, actually, I always make pancakes or waffles for my daughter's friends when they sleep over, but no super-sweet toppings. Only fresh strawberries or blueberries, maybe a little butter and a little real 100% Vermont maple syrup. The kids love them. I make sure my batter is not too sweet like the snack style hotto kekki. For myself, I agree with Cleo and Taka, except my drink of choice is tea, lots of strong black tea. Nessie, agree with the family breakfast. It's a great time for family conversation.

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Taka, color me surprised. There is NO finer breakfast in Japan than in THE Maritime Self-Defense Force mess halls. That's what my recruiter said, anyway.

Glad to see you back, Keech, and twice as good as ever. ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah-ha! I thought I recognized this bloke.

http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/516685

Too bad they removed the video.

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Loki, Amen brother. Amen. Nothing like bits of bacon dipped in lard, cold hash browns and almosted toasted toast to start off the day!

Taka

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cups? That is the most annoying measure for me! Why 50 grams of butter, a nice metric figure I can understand, but 1.33333333333 cups of ricotta cheese? How do you get cheese into a cup and then back out again? A third of a cup?

I can just about cope with tablespoons and teaspoons, but I'm all at sea with cups.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Cups? That is the most annoying measure for me"

Oh bother...: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/gram_calc.htm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Always use free-range eggs"

Yes, eggs from chickens that run around freely definitely taste better than eggs from chickens that are cooped up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

jambon, thanks, and it tells me that 1.33333333 cups is 306.56 grams or so; why couldn't they just use 300 grams instead? What annoys me is that a cup is a unit of volume, so should I adjust for density? At least tablespoons are used to measure liquids and powders only.

Wikipedia tells me that US cups are 236.59 ml (which gives 315 ml), but Australian cups are 250 ml, which is 9% more than that web site if we're measuring water, but how does the density of ricotta cheese compare with water?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lots of recipes available on the internet and in books supposedly written in English give measurements of weird things in cups. Using cups to measure powder or liquids is excusable; but how much carrot for instance do you get in a cup of carrots? Or a cup of tomatoes? Or onions? What's wrong with grams? Or even ounces?

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Cleo, To measure a cup of carrots, cut your carrots (or whatever vegetable), then fill a 2 cup container with 1 cup of water. Add carrots until the water rises to 2 cups.

Taka

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Whatjapan -- "What annoys me is that a cup is a unit of volume, so should I adjust for density?"

Only if you're on Jupiter. Here on Earth, eyeballing it works fine. There is a tendency to get hung up on precise measurements, but +/-10% margin of error will work with most ingredients except maybe with flour for bread(requires experience to adjust) and baking power and baking soda for cakes and cookies.

What's more diffucult is adjusting for salt butter if you can't get unsalted butter. The temptation is to reduce the salt to compensate for the salt in the butter. But then you don't have salt in your dry ingredients to react with the soda to produce rising. As a compromise I usually cut the salt by half, which prevents the salted butter from making things too briney while still giving enough CO2 reactive oomph for rising. Another way to compensate is to use extra egg, but that gets trickier.

And ricotta, like mascarpone and cottage cheese, is a soft cheese that will easily come out of the cup with a sharp tap, particulary if you use a glass measuring cup rather than a plastic one. Damn expensive here, though: Because of the short shelf life, it's more than ten times the price of ricotta in cheese-friendly countries. Sometimes I cut it with 50% cottage cheese if I'm cooking for the masses. In that case, a fine-curd cottage cheese works better than a coarse curd.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taka,

You've got to be kidding with that "measure" of a cup.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Saw this guy on Wowow. Something a tad psycho about him. After every line, he'd open his left eye a bit and give a forced smile as if it were the punchline to some inside joke. Exact timing every time, like it was some preprogrammed twitch in a video game. He should replace Heath Ledger as the Joker in the next Batman movie. And too many of his recipes include the phrase "couldn't be bothered." You're a friggin' CELEBRICHEF, dude. You get PAID to be bothered.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This guy's omelette recipes are awesome!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

True, his use of cream was unusual, but the folding technique is old. Try decades old. People used to make scrabbled eggs that way, but just got lazy over time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Starting off the day with two eggs, butter and cream? Hmmm. I'm not too keen on Japanese breakfasts, but even I have to say it's much healthier (apart from the high salt content).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am the egg master. I am the walrus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Starting off the day with two eggs, butter and cream?"

Fats help the body use vitamins... thank God.

Remember: If it tastes good, it will taste better with butter and garlic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese are open to foreign food and new cusine so this could be a hit in Japan. While Tokyo is regarded as the city with the best cusine in the world and Japanese cusine aswell as European cusine made by Japanese is known to have one of the best quality in the world according to Michelin so this gentleman has some stiff competition.

Comparing Japanese to this type of breakfast is like comparing apples and oranges. I don't see why some people would not want to eat Japanese 5 times a week and this style 1 time a week and something else other times of the week. As for your health. Nothing beats natto, rice, miso soup, chawan mushi, sea weed, tofu and it tastes just as good as it is good for you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

At the end of the day this guy makes scrambled eggs. What's the big deal?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, if he made them at the end of the day they'd be cold and coagulated by breakfast time. I'm pretty sure he makes them at the beginning of the day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I swear this same article was featured on JT 6 months ago.

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VoxMan is right. My mu used to make scrambled eggs like this, about 35 years ago. Everything comes around I guess. However, rather than all this fuss about eggs, can anyone tell me where I can get some real bacon in this country? I can cook great scrambled eggs myself but the absence of a nice piece of salty, semi-crispy, rind-on British back bacon is causing me some anxiety now...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is he trying to teach us how to suck eggs here?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When the Australians always think they are introducing things to the world... they are merely two decades behind the developed world. The little battlers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A good hearty English breakfast helps prevent gall-stones; recent study.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

outhousejt..... errrrrrr

Wrong! According to the Michelin guide. Paris has the most resturants with Michelin Stars, not Tokyo. Nice try!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You are WRONG VOXman. Please look it up on the internet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"can anyone tell me where I can get some real bacon in this country?"

Why would you want to ruin perfectly good scrambled eggs by adding salty pig fat?

"A good hearty English breakfast helps prevent gall-stones"

It probably also prevents longevity...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You can get real bacon in Japan. Do you mean English bacon or American bacon? You can get American bacon in USA and English bacon in England and Japanese bacon in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese definition of "Bacon" is salted, pressed, and smoked/steamed. It's cut thicker than American Bacon, and usually doesn't fry into a crisp. Most bacon in Japan is called something like "shoulder bacon" or "smoked pork"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“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.”

It tough to make it in heart of Tokyo. Is this why Bill chose the Shonan "relaxed beach culture"?

(Totally irrelevant: When Singapore was a colony of Japan, from February 15, 1942 to September 12, 1945, the name was changed to Shonan.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is there any thing that could be close to be called Australian cuisine? Is this, if it exists, any close to the English cuisine? I see...and this guy tries to teach to Japanese about cuisine? I think he has missed the right country. The problem of Japan is just that of trying to follow Western cuisine and then copying only the lowest forms of food ever: USA and UK food. Is this guy a new Jamie Oliver wannabee?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think traditional UK food can be OK and a good Hamburger is a good Hambruger. Granted if you eat hamburgers everyday. Your head will start to grow and in the end blow up.

Before Tokyo Olympics in the early 60s and late 50s. Japan invited lots of first class chefs from France to teach the Japanese about how to make proper French food.The Japanese got knowledge and new inspiration and thats how French food became popular in Japan and now even some of the French Restaurants in Japan made by Japanese get Michelin stars and are concidered top notch by international standards.

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kagunlapell,

USA food the lowest form of food? Maybe you've only been exposed to "hamburg" and have never had soul food. Gumbo, jambalaya, poboys, cornbread, greens...it can't be beat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

man, this guy made US people obese with his scrambled eggs. •2 free-range eggs •1/3 cup cream •A pinch of salt •10g butter No wonder De Caprios weight fluctuates.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not everyone in Australia eats this harty "English" breakfast. We also eat fruit, yoghurt. Bill Granger is truly a great Chef. P.s. the Outback Steak House is Not repeat NOT Australian. It is owned by Americans.!!!!!!!!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stone baked Roo is an authentic Australian cusine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very Interesting read. Mouth watering recipes. Thanks for sharing. pvariel@gmail.com

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Alfie, you can always try the meat guy(http://www.themeatguy.jp/) or check in a medium- to high-end imported foodstore for meat proucts from a company called Frieden out of Kanagawa. Their phone number is (0463) 58-6120. Very good block and sliced bacon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Remember: If it tastes good, it will taste better with butter and garlic.

I can think of exceptions - chocolate, for one!

I used to get moderately acceptable bacon when I was in Niigata - was able to get it sufficiently crispy. Latterly I switched to using pancetta (handily pre-cut, for lazy beggars like me), but I doubt that would cut the mustard in a bacon sarnie.

I can't stomach cooked breakfasts of either the Japanese or Western variety before 11am (while being perfectly happy to eat natto after 11am). I think it's the salt content. Cereal, fruit, yoghurt and/or toast with marmalade, and a strong cup of English/Irish breakfast tea with a bit of milk is my ideal breakfast.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Panchetta, Zai? Living high on the hog down there in Kiwiland, aren't we? ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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