What is omakase and why is it spreading to restaurants throughout the world?
Anyone who has had an experience in a restaurant based on the Japanese philosophy known as omakase can vouch for the fact that it is a unique experience. Some say it’s like going to see a show; a private show that is, as the formula created in Japan is strictly private and completely tailored to the customer who wants to experience it. The success and key to all omakase lies in mutual trust and going with the flow, and the whole service takes place in front of the diner.
Trust them and trust in yourself
The Japanese work omakase means “trust” or, maybe more specifically, “I trust you”, referring to the trust we have in the chef who prepares our food. To sum up this Japanese service technique, we can say that it is like a taster menu that is a complete surprise and personalised, as a result of the chef-customer relationship.
Omakase is inspired by Japanese tradition but it is already growing in popularity. The technique has become known throughout the world, especially in places that specialise in sushi and tempura, but the success of this concept has also made it to non-Japanese restaurants. There are European chefs, like French chef Joël Robuchon, who have already been inspired by the traditional service in sushi bars that offer omakase. Likewise, in recent years we have seen non-Asian restaurants also based on this particular type of service in New York, London and Berlin, amongst others.
The importance of communication
The experts of the sector have pointed out that one of the most important points to take into account when offering a service inspired by omakase is communication. Diners must be very clear about any allergies or intolerances that need to be taken into account, in addition to giving a summary of what they like.
Once a dialogue has been established with the chef, you have to trust that he or she will prepare a dish perfected tailored to you, prepared and served on the spot, at the perfect temperature and in the amount he or she considers adequate. While the customer is enjoying their menu, communication will continue to be important. You can tell the chef if you liked the food or not, if you thought it was too spicy, if you would eat it again, etc. Chefs who offer omakase will be attentive as they are constantly looking to perfectly adapt the menu to the tastes of the diner.
You could say that enjoying a service based on omakase is like going to see a show. It’s certainly a personalised, unique and totally privileged experience.