Interview with our graduate on March 2019

Mr. Arnold Davidson Pangestu, who took our 6wks course in March 2019, did  internship at a sushi restaurant in Tokyo.

Q1. Please introduce yourself

My name is Arnold, originally from Indonesia, but I currently work and live in Australia.

I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Australia a few years ago and have been working for more than 3 years as a qualified chef. I decided to visit Japan and take this course as a break from work whilst learning Japanese cooking technique and the culture in general.

Q2. When did you take course at TSA? and Why?

I chose TSA, in Tsukiji because it’s just perfect.

If you want to learn Japanese cuisine, I personally think you should go to Japan. If you also want to make fresh and delicious sushi or sashimi, we can source them from Tsukiji market which is just next to the campus. The quality of products in Tsukiji market is amazing, although the Toyosu market is bigger than Tsukiji now.

The instructors in TSA spoke fluent English, which is very important. I love reading recipe books, but Japanese recipe books frustrates me because they are all in Japanese and I can’t read any of it. Even by using Google Translate it is still a challenge.

Q3. Before you came to Japan, how much did you know about Japan?

I did not know much about Japan other than sharp single-beveled knives, fresh seafood and interesting culture.

Q4. Before you came to Japan, were you worried about anything?

No, I was not worried about anything, but I thought that language will be a problem for me.

I don’t speak Japanese. I just know only the important words, such as “Sumimasen”,”Ohayou-gozaimasu” and”Gomen-nasai”.

I feel that Japanese people are very kind, especially when I try to speak Japanese.

Q5. How was your class?

It was very fun. I am used to be with foreigners, because I have travelled to many places around the world, so I enjoyed meeting my classmates from different countries.

One of my best memories with my classmates is that more than half of us went for a drink together after the first lesson. We tried to find a bar for 12 fairly big people at around 3pm on a monday, now that’s a challenge. After that we went ahead a made a group of Whatsapp and we became close friends afterwards.

Q6. What was the most exciting moment in our course?

I think that sushi counter practice was very special because we had to prepare almost all of the fishes we had been doing for the past month and put them all together for display and to make sushi on the spot.

Even though this class was just practice, but every fishes needed to be prepared properly and sometimes you just get under-pressure and just blanked out.

My classmates suddenly asked “Can I have tuna, kappa-maki, hamachi and Tamago?”, all at once, and that was pressure. On top of that, they were looking at how I would make sushi and made comments on the details as well.

It was very different from normal lessons where you would do 1 fish at a time. I was very excited to be doing the counter practice.

Q7. What was the most challenging moment in our course?

Smaller fish is more difficult. Aji, saba and kohada were very difficult because they were fragile.

Q8. How were your instructors?

I think after the whole 6 weeks, we had about 5 to 6 different instructors and each and everyone of them are very knowledgeable and obviously a pro in sushi. I had a Japanese head chef at a couple of restaurants I worked at in Australia. He never had a proper education in sushi or anything, but he did have this sense of care and way that the instructors at TSA had. Our instructors have had more proper experiences, knowledge and know-how and I could freely ask them the details or reasons behind each technique.

Q9. Where did you stay while attending school? How was your accommodation?

I stayed T-room from Air B&B. It is located at nihon-bashi.

I could have my private room ,but bathroom, living room and toilet were shared with others.

It was very good apartment.

Q10. Please tell us your recommended restaurant or place in Tokyo

Before Japan, I like ramen, after Japan, I love ramen. My favourite ramen shop is called Thunder Bird Ramen Noodles which conveniently is located around 100m away from my accommodation. The best one was their dandan-mien, it was just phenomenal. I brought my friends afterwards and they did agree that it was very delicious for the price tag, which was about 700yen.

Q11. Did you see any differences with your skill after you graduated?

Absolutely. Now I feel the need to pay more respect to the ingredients, especially fish and seafood. This would be the biggest difference.

Q12. Any comment to our future students.

If you choose to go for this course, please take it seriously. Don’t skip any classes, because it is a lot of money and secondly, not everyday you get a chance to delve deep into sushi with instructors that have wealth of knowledge.

And finally please don’t forget to have fun in and out of class with your new classmates. Go explore Tokyo after classes is a must.