by Ken Tsui | In the midst of preparing for another busy night at Main Street’s Burdock & Co., the kitchen crew are working on hiyashi chuka, a chilled noodle salad and a Japanese mainstay on hot summer days.
Chef Alden Ong takes the lead, working on the salad’s dressing. As Chef Gabe Meyer begins working on the vegetables for the salad, she jokes around, saying that Ong is known around these parts as ‘the marinade master’. It’s easy to see why as he starts frying up some spices to make a flavoured oil. While he lets the oil steep, he begins making the sauce. With a dash of soy, a healthy pouring of rice vinegar, a spoonful of miso and a little bit of tahini, the dressing comes together quickly as he tastes and adjusts. Arman Roland-Khosravi, a young gun of 16, works behind Alden balancing between cooking the ramen and putting together a frittata. The crew understands that the egg is an essential topping for a good bowl of hiyashi chuka.
All the vegetables, noodles and dressing converge in one big, silver bowl. Chef and co-owner Andrea Carlson arrives just in time to set out the plates as Arman tosses the noodles in the dressing, raising the tongs well over his head to mix it through. Despite the giant bowl filled with salad, it all disappears as quickly and effortlessly as it was all made.