9:Okami of Toba View Hotel Hanashinju, Yuko Hasama

“What should I sell to my customers? I’m always thinking about it.
Working as the OKAMI is worthwhile. How quickly a year passed!”

Yuko, the OKAMI of Toba View Hotel, had always been next to her mother since she was little, who had been working hard as the former OKAMI in their hotel.
Yuko had no hesitation to be the new OKAMI and took over their hotel business.
She has been through the difficult business situation in the times economically going down such as quite different from her mother’s.
She has been dealing with the problems of the hotel, with the way of small family business.
What kind of innovation she has done?
What is the secret to take care of the both issues of her hotel and home?

The service staffs in the hotel tend to work all day long.Working early and late in the hotel business had been taken for granted at one time, but I divided the working shifts into two, morning and night, firstly, and changed their working hours and shift pattern.
It seemed to be confusing until they got used to the new working circumstances, but now they seem to be comfortable with it.The average age of my employees is 33 years old now. It gets younger than before, but they are in the generation which is not good at communicating with the others.I allow them to use SNS to let me know how the things are going in the hotel, because it is easier for them to use the communication tools like LINE or things like that.But they need to talk to me when they have to make an apology.

Except that, they can use the way whatever they feel comfortable and I can avoid the worst situation such as I don’t get the report what’s going on in the hotel or the contact from my young employees when they have some problems or worries.Hospitality in my hotel hasn’t been changed much from my mother’s time, but I would rather consider the efficiency and cut down on something we don’t need to do.I built the dining room in the hotel and now our guest can have dinner there.If the guests want to have their dinner in their room like we used to do so for our guests, they can get the traditional service for an optional extra.The service staffs who take care of serving dinner in the guest rooms are highly skilled.They must have the ability to sense the demands and needs of the guests quickly in any situations.I must admit that the service staffs with that high skills get increased, but this is the traditional and special service of Ryokan, so I manage to provide the best service to my guests as much as we can.The cuisine is also the main thing in Ryokans.We have deep discussion whenever we plan to have new dishes.For example, when we have the meeting about new breakfast menu, we eat the breakfast with the variety of members of the employees to figure out if the menu fits for both men and women, elders and youth or if it satisfies people in different figures.The guests demand is more detailed than before. For example, the allergy issue.The executive chef also need to be flexible.My husband is taking care of accounting of the hotel.My husband and I work in the same hotel and go back to the same house, we are together 24 hours. But we have decided not to talk about the job at home.I cannot balance both housework and work without cooperation of my family. My daughter is 3 years old now and she starts expressing her intention, so it becomes more difficult to go on business trips. Although, I had to stay away from home more often for the business trips until she was 2.Even in absence of OKAMI, the hotel has to keep working with the certain system.When my mother was working as OKAMI, the average price of a customer was about 25000 yen.

The sales at that time contained the video or photo services in it. Now customers have own smart phones, the price is necessarily less than half. Selling the photo services are not our expectation to raise up the sales amount, but we have the meetings with all the managers twice a month to unite all of us into one team and this action make the employees to be eager to increase the sales.What I have to do now is specializing my hotel by emphasizing the great feature of my hotel.Just running Ryokan business without any specific plans makes no gain.What should we sell? What do the customers want? I am always thinking about that.Working as OKAMI is something very worthwhile. 24 hours are just like one second for me. How quickly a year passed!
Category: Okami

8:The executive chef of Ryosou Umi-no-Chou, Kenichi Eguchi

If you want to create the cuisine with your characters, you must to be on the top.

Kenichi Eguchi was born in Ehime Prefecture.His grandmother loved cooking, and this led him to the world of cuisine.After he graduated his junior high school, he studied in Culinary Art Department of Matsuyama Jounan High Scool. After he build up his working experiences in Kurashiki, Hokkaido and Shinshu Matsudai, he got the appointment in Ryosou Umi-no-Chou as the executive chef when he was 37 years old.In the world of the Japanese Cuisine, there still are the good old tradition.He is the up-and -coming chef with high spirit who is always trying to bring new world into the traditions, although he feels the generation gaps.

Where you belong to as the chef is all depending on Oyaji-san, the father in the cuisine world who raised you to be a professional chef.I think we are the last generation living in such relationship between master and pupil.It was the era you moved from place to place only with a knife.However, I began to wonder that the way we had taken was not wright path to improve the skill as a professional chef by the change of the world.At such time, I was appointed to Ryosou Umi-no-Chou as an executive chef.It was my first time to work for the place managed by OKAMI-san.My Okami-san is very keen to try new things, and she would always like to carry out rather than to worry. This attitude gave me the habit to think deeper to find out the way to get things done somehow or another.Sometimes I get scolded by Okami-san. I realize that scolding somebody is not easy and enjoyable since I am also in charge of training young chefs- to-be.We should be grateful for the scolding.
In any working circumstances, you would have hard time.The best thing to do is to keep going. You shouldn’t give up on the way.In the kitchen, the master is the absolute authority.If you want to create your cuisine with your characters, you must to be on the top.I have been trying so hard to reach the top of the kitchen even I had many frustrated experiences.
I have 10 chefs in my kitchen, and most of them are in their 20’s.The young ones are still on the way to get mature skills, but older ones can make up their lack of cooking techniques.We are safely doing our job on the rail our predecessors had set.This fact should be passed to younger generation and this is our role as well.The world of ITAMAE consists of the strict relationship between master and pupil, and I would rather say the gap between generations are also important.In that strict situation, you would have unpleasant or painful experiences. But thorough those frustrating challenges, you will get to notice what is the important thing for you. No pain, no gain.However, we need to have many young chefs-to -be to provide a big amount of meals for our guests. I believe that the younger generation has completely different ideas and thoughts.When I think about the future of the Japanese cuisine world, I think we have to create the new world of professional chefs to make things going well.
Now, I am taking IKEBANA, the flower arrangement lessons.This is the benefit for me as a chef, especially ideal lessons for Japanese cuisine.I can reflect the techniques of IKEBANA to the presentation of my dishes, and feel the sense of the four seasons more deeply. Also, I become interested in the little wild flowers which I have never noticed before. Learning IKEBANA increased the range of the varieties and improved the quality of my cuisine.


Category: Itamae