Daisuke Nakazawa: “You need to work for what you want”
Mr. Nakazawa, the New York Times food critic Pete Wells wrote that his first meal at Sushi Nakazawa carved itself into his memory forever. Do you remember the moment you tried sushi for the first time?
My first memory of eating sushi was eating delivery sushi at my grandfather’s house; I might have been five or six years old. But my first memory of actually liking sushi was in high school, when a friend of mine was training to be a sushi chef, and he influenced me. I never really had a favorite dish before then, but that’s when I started liking sushi.
What changed your mind?
I ate one of the nigiri that he’d pressed while practicing… That was the first time I found out that there are so many different kinds of fish, and that each combination can create a variety tastes and flavors. As a child, sushi always meant the same plain styles: cucumber rolls, egg nigiri, or kanpyo — dried gourd rolls — because my parents strongly believed that, “You can eat expensive meals when you can afford them.” I’m now the father of five children but I try to never spoil them by giving everything on a silver platter. I think you need to work for what you want, and so creating a learning environment like that for your kids is really important.
Gaetano Pesce: “The future is a beautiful time”
Mr. Pesce, before this interview took place there was an announcement about your death on social media. How did you manage to rise from the dead?
(Laughs) The story is more satire than that. Last year an art critic in Florence named Sergio Risaliti invited me to do an installation in Florence at the Sala dell’Udienza inside Piazza della Signoria. In this square there is a painting by Michelangelo et cetera, so it was very prestigious. I asked to show an exhibition called Majesty Betrayed which is a commentary on the reality of women, that they are suffering because of the prejudices of men. I made a chair with the shape of the body of a woman with the ottoman connected to it by a chain — the image of a prisoner. Eventually, a journalist from France who had seen the plan for the exhibition sent an Instagram to the mayor of Florence saying that she was disappointed that he was using the Sala as a showroom for a chair company.
And what did the mayor say?
He responded saying, “I know nothing about that.” That was not true because he was following our project for four months! I was bothered that he didn’t correct this journalist. In the end, I ended up moving the exhibition to the Piazza Santa Maria Novella where there is a museum… But still, I was disappointed with the mayor’s response so I decided not to go the opening of the exhibition. When the mayor heard that I was not coming anymore, he said, “Gaetano is not coming? We won’t show this sculpture until he comes to Florence.”