THE MAGIC OF A DISH: New York Top Chef Goes to Japan

Episode 2: Winter

Acclaimed NY chef David Bouley has delighted celebrities with his innovative French cuisine spiced with "Bouley Magic." Now in his 60's, the gifted chef sets out on a journey of training to learn and explore new gastronomic horizons. His goal: to create the finest healthy cuisine unlike anything we've seen before. To this end, Bouley travels to Japan in pursuit of knowledge. We follow him as he visits the mountainous inland region of Nagano Prefecture and Noto Peninsula that stretches into the Sea of Japan.
It's winter in Nagano. In the 1960's, stroke mortality in Nagano Prefecture was alarmingly high. But thanks to efforts by doctors to promote dietary changes to reduce salt intake, the people of Nagano now have one of the highest life expectancies in Japan. Bouley learns how "kanten" is made by boiling down and drying algae using the cold winds that blow from the snowy mountains. He also peeks inside a local's kitchen and gets a hands-on lesson from a housewife on making "sunki," a rare kind of pickle made without using salt. The unique taste and texture of the local health foods stimulate his creativity. In Noto Peninsula, he learns the secret of making sake lees and soy sauce. Exploring his newly acquired knowledge, he creates an exciting fusion of Japanese and Western cuisine using fresh local fish and fruits and ... a touch of "Bouley Magic."

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