Tsuchida Yasuhiko

Venice, 20.11.99

On summer day in 1990 towards noon, I was working as usual at Harry’s Bar in Venice when I received a phone call from Paris.
A male voice told me in uncertain French that he was a Japanese cook working at the Hotel Nikko and asked if he could come to Venice to work for me.
I think my answer was to call back in a few days, because this is what I usually replied to requests of this kind. In fact very few ever called back a second time. But Tsuchy called me. Not once, but many times. It seemed like his life goal was to work in the kitchens at Harry’s Bar. In the end I said yes, he could come for an internship. A few days later, in the morning, a young Japanese man came to the door with 2 suitcases. He said:
“I am Tsuchy”.
“Good morning”, I said. “How long do you think you will stay?”
“Five years”, he answered.
I was so surprised I remained speechless.
Tsuchy stayed for 4 years. He became an excellent cook because he had great talent for doing things well. But he never seemed to be an ordinary cook. It often seemed like his mind was in a world I could not grasp. Then one day he brought me some of his paintings, which he had painted after hours, and since he already worked long hours in the kitchen, I think he must have painted them at night.
When I saw them I understood right off that Tsuchy was not born to be a cook, but was a real artist. Perhaps the pots had helped him find inspiration, because cooking is also an art that is created from scratch time and time again.
Then Tsuchy left. He did not go very far, because Venice is a city that does not let its artists go without trying to hold them back with its magic. He stopped on the island of Murano to work in front of other ovens, in the furnaces.
In glass Tsuchy has found the most recent expression for his creativity. The closest thing to water which is Venice’s primordial element. Glass. Petrified water inside forms and colors.
Tsuchy has found his direction. He won’t leave. His messages will leave for him, and they will tell the wonderful story of the cook, who began cooking his art at Harry’s Bar.