Rokusaburo Michiba
is a Japanese cuisine
Japanese cuisine
Japanese cuisine has developed over the centuries as a result of many political and social changes throughout Japan. The cuisine eventually changed with the advent of the Medieval age which ushered in a shedding of elitism with the age of shogun rule...

A chef is a person who cooks professionally for other people. Although over time the term has come to describe any person who cooks for a living, traditionally it refers to a highly skilled professional who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation.-Etymology:The word "chef" is borrowed ...

 most notable as the first Japanese Iron Chef on the television series Iron Chef
Iron Chef
is a Japanese television cooking show produced by Fuji Television. The series, which premiered on October 10, 1992, is a stylized cook-off featuring guest chefs challenging one of the show's resident "Iron Chefs" in a timed cooking battle built around a specific theme ingredient. The series ended...

. He was on the show from its inception in 1993 until his retirement on his 65th birthday, January 3, 1996. After his retirement as an Iron Chef, he made sporadic appearances on the show, and producers even dedicated a special 1996 tribute episode to him called The Legend of Michiba. Rokusaburo Michiba originally balked at his blue attire (a samue
is the work clothing of Japanese Buddhist monks.Made from cotton or linen and traditionally dyed brown or indigo to distinguish them from formal vestments, samue are worn by monks of most Japanese Buddhist traditions. performing labour duty such as temple maintenance and field work.In modern times...

 outfit with a flat cap), but was flattered into wearing it.

According to his introduction, Rokusaburo Michiba was once considered a maverick for his philosophy of "there are no borders to ingredients." Although primarily a Japanese chef, Michiba was unafraid of incorporating decidedly non-Japanese elements into his dishes — something that did not sit well with more traditional-minded Japanese cuisine chefs. Indeed, in his first battle against French cuisine
French cuisine
French cuisine is a style of food preparation originating from France that has developed from centuries of social change. In the Middle Ages, Guillaume Tirel , a court chef, authored Le Viandier, one of the earliest recipe collections of Medieval France...

-trained Kobayakawa Yousei, Michiba was given a theme ingredient virtually foreign to Japanese cuisine: foie gras
Foie gras
Foie gras ; French for "fat liver") is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. This fattening is typically achieved through gavage corn, according to French law, though outside of France it is occasionally produced using natural feeding...

. Michiba was declared the winner. In fact, of his outstanding career win-loss record of thirty-two wins, five losses, and one tie, he, arguably, can take some personal and professional satisfaction that his record against the traditionalists is a fine ten wins and one loss.

Michiba's trademark was "Inochi no Dashi" (命の出汁; いのちのだし or "Broth of Vigor",) a combination of plenty of katsuobushi
is the Japanese name for dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna .Shaved Katsuobushi and dried kelp - kombu - are the main ingredients of dashi, a broth that forms the basis of many soups and sauces in Japanese cuisine.Katsuobushi's distinct umami flavor comes from its high...

, skipjack tuna
Skipjack tuna
The skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis, is a medium-sized perciform fish in the tuna family, Scombridae. It is otherwise known as the aku, arctic bonito, mushmouth, oceanic bonito, striped tuna, or victor fish...

 shavings and a form of edible kelp
Kelps are large seaweeds belonging to the brown algae in the order Laminariales. There are about 30 different genera....

 called "konbu," which he used during virtually every battle. He is also widely credited with introducing mayonnaise
Mayonnaise, , often abbreviated as mayo, is a sauce. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Lecithin in the egg yolk is the emulsifier. Mayonnaise varies in color but is often white, cream, or pale...

 into Japanese cuisine.

Michiba was also skilled in calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

, often using precious minutes, usually at the beginning of a battle, to write a menu. On one occasion, however, Michiba forgot to write a menu and lost a battle; on another occasion, he did it at the last moment and lost as well. In an episode where his sous-chef challenged Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto
Masaharu Morimoto
is a well-known Japanese chef, best known as the third Iron Chef on the Japanese TV cooking show Iron Chef, and an Iron Chef on its spinoff, Iron Chef America. He is also known for his unique style of presenting food....

, Michiba explained that he wrote out his menu partly to clarify what he wanted to present, and partly to inform his assistants so that they would know which ingredients to gather and prepare. Several challengers also wrote out their menus during their battle; commentators referred to this as "taking a page out of Iron Chef Michiba's book."

His imaginative mind and skills allowed him to, on occasion, finish a battle earlier than expected and prepare extra dishes. Despite being the oldest of the Iron Chefs, he holds the Kitchen Stadium record for most dishes in a battle: eight. In each contest, he would also try to create one dish that an ordinary person could duplicate without specialized equipment or knowledge.

Because of his age, experience, and excellent time management skills, Rokusaburo Michiba was regarded as the senior Iron Chef. His "borderless Japanese cuisine" is often not only considered to be neo-Japanese in style, but a pre-cursor to neo-Japanese cuisine.

Michiba's tenure was interrupted by an illness in mid-1995 that briefly hospitalized him, and afterwards, although his cooking form was as good as ever, he began tiring from the stress of appearing on the show and running his three restaurants: Poisson Rokusaburo in Akasaka
Akasaka, Tokyo
is a residential and commercial district of Minato, Tokyo, located west of the government center in Nagatachō and north of the Roppongi nightlife district....

, and Ginza Rokusan-tei and Kaishoku-Michiba in Ginza
is a district of Chūō, Tokyo, located south of Yaesu and Kyōbashi, west of Tsukiji, east of Yūrakuchō and Uchisaiwaichō, and north of Shinbashi.It is known as an upscale area of Tokyo with numerous department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses. Ginza is recognized as one of the most...

. It only worsened during overtime battles which were made possible by the addition of a fourth judge.
According to Takeshi Kaga, after his decision to retire, Rokusaburo Michiba vowed to personally recruit his successor. The show continued with just Iron Chef French Hiroyuki Sakai
Hiroyuki Sakai
is a well-known Japanese chef who specializes in French cuisine. Sakai is most famous for being the second, and last, Iron Chef French on the Japanese television show Iron Chef, first appearing at the beginning of 1994 and continued his appearance in shows over nine seasons...

 and Iron Chef Chinese
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

 Chen Kenichi
Chen Kenichi
, whose name is often romanized Chin Kenichi in Japanese sources, is a Han Chinese chef best known for his role as the Iron Chef Chinese on the television series Iron Chef. He wears a yellow outfit and rises into Kitchen Stadium holding a cleaver in his hand. He is the only Iron Chef to have held...

 for two months. But, finally, it was announced that Michiba had completed his mission with the naming of Koumei Nakamura
Koumei Nakamura
, is a celebrity chef. Most famous for being the second Japanese Iron Chef on the show, Iron Chef, he has worked at numerous restaurants such as the Oriental Hotel in Osaka, Nadaman in the Hotel New Otani, and the Nadaman Singapore in the Shangri La Hotel. He later became the manager of Nadaman in...

. "All my instincts told me he was the one," said Michiba. Initially, Nakamura refused, but was convinced to accept. Nakamura's first battle on March 1, 1996 was against French chef Kiyoshi Suzuki. During the introduction of the theme ingredient of the day, Chairman Kaga stated that he could not resist choosing foie gras, wanting to relive some of the magic of Michiba's first victory using the same ingredient.

Michiba was also extremely supportive of Nakamura's successor, Masaharu Morimoto
Masaharu Morimoto
is a well-known Japanese chef, best known as the third Iron Chef on the Japanese TV cooking show Iron Chef, and an Iron Chef on its spinoff, Iron Chef America. He is also known for his unique style of presenting food....

. Inarguably, Morimoto took Michiba's "no borders to ingredients" philosophy to a different level. The show often referred to the relationship between Michiba and Morimoto as that between master and student, especially after an episode when Michiba flew to New York to visit Morimoto's restaurant, Nobu. So supportive of Morimoto was Michiba that, before his infamous New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 battle with chef Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay
Robert William "Bobby" Flay is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur and reality television personality. He is the owner and executive chef of 12 restaurants: Mesa Grill in Las Vegas, New York City, and the Bahamas ; Bar Americain in New York City and Uncasville, Connecticut; Bobby Flay Steak...

, Michiba gave Morimoto a large box of katsuobushi
is the Japanese name for dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna .Shaved Katsuobushi and dried kelp - kombu - are the main ingredients of dashi, a broth that forms the basis of many soups and sauces in Japanese cuisine.Katsuobushi's distinct umami flavor comes from its high...

 flakes with a hand-calligraphed message: "respect the old, but seek out the new."

Michiba is 80 years old and he lives in japan.


The manga series Kandō Ō Retsuden featured a story about Michiba in volume 2, called Michiba Rokusaburō Monogatari. The data collecting and organizing was made by Yasuo Negishi and it was illustrated by Yoshihiro Takahashi
Yoshihiro Takahashi
is a Japanese manga artist. He writes under a pen name in which his first name Yoshihiro is spelled out in hiragana .Takahashi was born September 18, 1953, in Higashinaruse, Akita. He was very interested in drawing growing up and, in the 60's, started publishing small comics in several newspapers...


External links

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