- ▼ 6月 (5)
Café BlAITE is located in Nishiarai, Tokyo. Mr. Saito creates unique and colorful cake influenced by France. He recommends everyone to eat cake at the café instantly to enjoy the atmosphere.
After graduating Ikebukuro cooking school, I worked for Piece Montee in Ginza for two and half years. After that, my friend in Osaka invited me as a chef patissier in Burdigara. The owner wanted me to make very traditional French style gateau. When they ordered me to make “Berawecka”, I was not able to understand what it was. It was mortifying and made me want to study real French sweets. I was 26 and flew to France. I might have just wanted to win as a patissier. In fact, I did not study French at all and there were not so many friends there, so the life in France was very hard.
Through my Japanese friend in France, I got a job and started a training. There were many immigrants and my boss was a Cambodian-French, so it was difficult to communicate with. Two of other Japanese co-workers mostly helped for me as for the language. It was nice to have a strong relationship with other Japanese people. Since we shared all our joys and sorrows with colleagues, our bond got stronger. I still get in touch with old friends at that time.
In the first place, I learned baking bread and preparing a deli.
The second place was a patisserie store located in 14th arrondissement, and I was the only Japanese there. I was picked for a while by other co-workers, but after Christmas event, the boss accredited my ability. Since Japanese are earnest and have hand dexterity, he probably liked me a little more than others. At the end, he wanted me to take over his position to run the place. But I wanted to study other field, so I left this place.
The third place was a chocolate store and I studied there for a while. Throughout four years of my stay in France, I studied in the six different places. While I was there, I got an award for candy making competition. However, I had to come back to Japan because of my father’s illness.
After getting back in Japan, I worked as a chef patissier at Sun Fruits in Roppongi, Tokyo in time with opening. I got to use many of expensive fruits like mangos, strawberries, and peaches to create a variety of sweets. It was certainly nice experience.
Then I worked at the one star grill restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. They incorporated French style for grill dish, and I was deeply involved into the dessert served at the restaurants.
Since I wanted to take a responsibility for what I create regardless the size of store, I decided to open my own café. It is desirable to be able to deliver my idea directly to the customers.
In France, people bring a bottle of wine for their birthday and they drink and work. But they keep their quality of sweets. Also customers have their own preference clearly, and they order “Please give me that right brown baguette right there.” They are not like Japanese customers who are very sensitive for media information and prevailing food. I wish Japan were like France culture. It is important to take into customers’ preference. If the owners can enjoy what they do and create cozy atmosphere, customers can feel the same and will visit us naturally.
We basically collect what we like here. Since our sweets have bright color, we wanted to stay simple using just black and white. Our name “BLAITE” means black and white to describe the image of coffee and cream. Most of Japanese cake shops put the name card for the cakes like “cheese cake”. I want to go beyond the stereotype of formal Japanese cake shop.
I wanted to do something other people do not do. And again, I want to step out of classic Japanese cake shop. Perhaps, many of patissiers will say these are not cake because they do not have crème on top or it is not a piece from the whole cake.
But I wanted to create adorable looking shape since this is a café where you can eat cake right after choosing from the display. Keeping the same shapes and price make it simple for the customers to look. Not writing the description of cake makes customers think what is inside. That gains their anticipated value and expand their imagination.
We use the top quality ingredients but our price is not too expensive. Therefore, I want everyone in Adachi-ku, Tokyo to drop by our place without feeling fancy. There is deep café culture in France and I wish Japan were influenced by them. In Japan, we usually buy sweets at the store and eat at home, but eating at the café increases the taste of dish even better. Where you eat is a part of essence belonging to the meal. For example, when you go out for dinner at the top class restaurant, you wear nice clothes, sit up straight, and eat meal with nice music. But at home, there is a loud TV and it is difficult for you to concentrate on the plate. This ineffective environment halves delicate sweets taste. Of course, my plate has special choreography which you can see only in the café. I am thinking about summer dessert plate right now.
It is not allowed to demand too much for the ingredients. I always listen to what ingredients are trying to tell, and find out the best condition and timing to deliver to the customers. Some patissiers place needless strains on the ingredients, but I keep step in the seasons and condition of the ingredients as long as my time allows.
I would like them to see our sweets which Japanese patissiers create. Japanese patissiers are now recognized by winning the prizes in the world. Therefore, now is the timing to raise the entire level of sweets industry in Japan. Even the place you drop by on the street could be the delicious place. I wish this industry could be the place all the patissiers create their own original sweets but not only thinking about the management.
The most shocking one was Mr. Tsujiguchi.
I was also impressed by HERME’s Plaisir Sucre. The way how they can present ingredient proves high technique of the French.
I think we should apply basic of sweets to expand to the next level.
There are not so many places which have café in the cake shop but just sell cake. I hope other patissiers will recognize that there is such a unique place like us.