Balfegó Brings the Kaitai Ceremony Around the World
Kaitai is the ancient Japanese art that consists of the precise cutting of bluefin tuna weighing more than 100kg. This Japanese style of cutting bluefin tuna is a technique that has been passed down from generation to generation and requires practice and study.
After years of trips to the East led by our Japanese teacher Tajiri Nobuyuki, various kitchen team members at Balgefó have acquired Kaitai knowledge from the hands of incredible Japanese teachers. It’s a choreographed art in which the bluefin tuna is cut while the characteristics and specificities of the species are detailed and some of the most surprising parts of the bluefin tuna are tasted, such as, for example, the marrow and the bone meat. It’s a sensory and didactic journey through the different parts of the tuna with a tasting menu that Balfegó takes to any corner of the world.
Kaitai, the Japanese Art of Cutting Tuna that Balfegó has Learned through our Work with the Bluefin Tuna of the Mediterranean
This Balfegó initiative has the goal of spreading awareness of the importance of the actions that we develop around bluefin tuna. We turn a Kaitai ceremony into a bluefin tuna outreach event and provide data on the morphology and life habits of the king of the sea; we also try to ensure our tracking system can be accessed by both chefs and consumers and this allows us to certify each piece of tuna that has been captured according to sustainable fishing regulations.
As a leading company in the commercialization of sustainable bluefin tuna, we bet on spreading the qualities and versatility of one of the most treasured fish in the restaurant industry by both restaurant owners and chefs. We also explain each of the processes that correspond to each stage from the sea to the table and we tell our story, the story of Balfegó that is connected to bluefin tuna.
We’ve held Kaitai ceremonies around the world, even in front of renowned chefs that were left stunned, like at the jaw dropping Kaitai Show in New York.
Between various events like show cookings, gastronomy days, or masterclasses, we also use Kaitai ceremonies as another way to spread information, where we explain a little about history, basic concepts, sustainable fishing ideas, knowledge about the species, morphology, bluefin tuna qualities and characteristics, and culinary possibilities. In fact, at Balfegó, we created our own nomenclature for the morphology of bluefin tuna that Ferrán Adriá used in his Sapiens project for Bullipedia.
For this kind of event, we count on a professional cutter that brings together strength and knowledge of the anatomy of bluefin tuna to be able to dominate the art. In total, 24 pieces are extracted, both internal and core parts. In fact, more and more restaurants are daring to include the more than 20 parts of tuna that we sell at Balfegó in their menus.
Tajiri Nobuyuki, Balfegó’s Famous Japanese Tuna Cutter
Tajiri is known in the industry as the most experienced tuna master in Spain. For a while, he’s been known by many as the samurai of tuna and for Balfegó, he’s another member of the family. He dedicates a part of his soul to each kaitai as he stuns those watching and he has become a celebrity; chefs and experts alike want to see him in action.
He’s traveled all over, performing demonstrations of his abilities with knives and his capacity to manage a more than 200 kilogram tuna with just one movement. In each city he has a challenge; introducing and cutting up a large fish isn’t easy in just any hotel, restaurant, or room. Tajiri has helped us significantly throughout the years with our work of spreading awareness of bluefin tuna; he’s become a key part of our team thanks to his professionalism, tenacity, and excellence. We will always be grateful to him and now we work tirelessly to honor him and his legacy.
Tuna Cutting or a Kaitai Ceremony: an experience that unites dissemination and spectacle
The cutting of a giant bluefin tuna in the traditional Japanese manner is a show that leaves everyone speechless. It’s an authentic experience that we offer at the Tunateca Balfegó center in Barcelona, Spain at the hands of our wise chefs and bluefin tuna experts, in addition to private events at exclusive locations around the world.
What is the Kaitai Ceremony?
It’s a ceremony that begins with the presentation of the fish on top of the table; everyone comes close to admire it. Once everyone has “greeted” the fish, the staging begins and the cutting of the bluefin tuna is performed while the presenter details the characteristics of each of the pieces and answers questions.
Later, the moment to taste different pieces arrives; this entails a gastronomic journey to the tastiest and most exotic parts of the fish as well as unknown parts, such as the meat from the backbone, loin, or marrow. Those who attend a Kaitai show agree that witnessing this ceremony is one of the most impressive experiences they’ve ever seen.
The Tunateca Balfegó Kaitai
The mecca of bluefin tuna is located in Barcelona, at Tunateca, the main gastronomy and tasting center in the world. In line with our goal of improving knowledge of bluefin tuna, we created this space where you can eat and attend workshops, like our famous Kaitai event where the tuna is cut in the traditional manner. You can also taste the different parts of the animal and learn about the entire commercialization process of our tuna, from capture until it’s served on the table. In addition, it’s also a chance to learn more about the steps to take to improve the sustainability of tuna fishing.
At Tunateca, we also hold gastronomy demonstrations from chefs; it’s a renowned space, known as a prestigious center where chefs from around the world can come to learn how we work with more than the 20 different parts of the tuna that we sell through different and international cooking styles and techniques. Students from the Culinary Institute of America in New York visited Tunateca with the goal of learning about our work with Mediterranean bluefin tuna.