ARI Family Series Vol. 3 Mr. Shinobu Namae (Crowdfunding Project Supporter)
We spoke with supporter Shinobu Namae to coincide with our autumn crowdfunding campaigns. Mr. Namae is the chef of Michelin 3-star restaurant L’Effervescence and supervises the bakery Bricolage.
Please check the ARI crowdfunding project: https://readyfor.jp/projects/ari
- Thank you for your support of our crowdfunding campaign. In the past, you have donated proceeds from events to ARI, and you also supported our travel expenses campaign in July. What was the impetus for your support of ARI?
I didn’t know about the July campaign until I saw the Instagram of my friend Shina Tsuyuki, an environmental activist whom I respect and admire very much. I am deeply supportive and hopeful of her activities and have been influenced by her.
Her sincere message resonated with me, so I decided to support ARI crowdfunding.
- You have used ARI’s pork at events before. How did you hear about ARI?
My relationship with ARI originated with my connection to the Nasu area, because of the many producers from whom I purchase ingredients for our restaurants.
We purchase vegetables from Narusawa Vegetable Garden and Kaneko Farm. We get strawberries from the nearby Ezure Farm. We get dairy from Shirin no Bokujo Farm and Ima Farm (Mr. Takahashi). The miso I use at home is prepared every year at Hinoya Miso shop.
Also, I am a personal fan of Rakuda bakery, which is also associated with ARI, and I collaborated with them at a festival hosted by Shozo. Rakuda baked bread for us when I opened our own stall then.
We had two dinner events at Chus about 5~6 years ago. On those occasions, we were able to purchase pork from ARI.
- You are traveling all over the world with your passion for food and your commitment to various social issues. Could you tell us about what drives your work at L’Effervescence?
L’Effervescence is a restaurant. The word “restaurant” means “recovery” in French. We imagine our restaurant as a “place to recover” or “a place to cheer up”. Our restaurant is a place where our cuisine can revitalize and restore the spirits of our guests.
- ARI grows organic vegetables as part of its training of rural leaders. Since our food is for self-sufficiency, it is not in “perfect” shape and has some insect bites. How do these vegetables look to you, Mr. Namae?
Food can be divided into two categories. One category has a rich flavor by itself and is tasty when tasted as is. The other is something that can be modified to bring out its potential value. I like delicious food. People want to eat a variety of delicious foods. In a region like Japan, which is long and varied from north to south, there is a wide variety of delicious ingredients.
ARI’s ingredients also have their own cooking methods. I believe that the chef’s skill lies in cooking in a way that suits the ingredients.
- You seem to be committed to environment and social issues. How did you gain awareness of these issues?
I majored in political science in university and was interested mainly in the politics and history of developing countries. I think the root of my interest is the question, “Why is the world so unfair?” Over time, I have developed a certain interpretation – remembering that there are some differences within the social structure of a free society – that the important thing is to respect and help others.
I believe that the ability to respect and help others has contributed to the development of human society on earth. There are many different ways for each person to do this, but as society becomes more individualized and isolated, we need many suggestions on how each person can interact with society and make it better and more sustainable. I believe that many people are at a loss as to what to do.
When we hold charity events at our restaurants, many people agree with us. We would like to continue “fostering a sense of place” in such opportunities.
ARI’s Peace from the Soil and That We May Live Together
Thoughts from an interview with Mr. Namae
Fermentation, L’Effervescence, and ARI
Speaking with Mr. Namae was like hearing one long tale, about the various connections based on Nasu area food, weaved together with connections to issues with Ms. Tsuyuki and his own considerations of fairness. It made sense that those who support charity at the restaurant would sympathize with him.
Mr. Namae spoke about fostering a sense of place. The French word “Effervescence” means fermentation in addition to vivacity, unbridled excitement, and bubbling. The name of the restaurant, L’Effervescence, reflects this meaning.
Fermentation is also an important concept at ARI.
We make use of fermentation when we use local resources that we receive from neighbors who help us. For example, we nourish our pigs and chickens with fermented feed made from local bean curd from a local tofu maker, and school lunch residues from the local elementary school, as well as from our own school kitchen.
ARI participants learn about integrated farming, including the use of indigenous microorganisms collected from the forest to make bokashi fertilizer. ARI is aided by these local resources and practices as a community for rural leaders to learn from and bring back to their own communities.
Food Sovereignty and Peace from the Soil
ARI’s food self-sufficiency rate is over 90%. We consider food sovereignty on the basis of this practice. ARI’s concept of food sovereignty is the right to choose for ourselves what to grow, what to eat, and how to live.
The process of choosing what we eat for ourselves, looking beyond food sovereignty to energy sovereignty, will become a part of our participants’ lives as they return to their home countries and face the oppressed in the midst of starvation and civil war.
Fermentation occupies a significant place in the cycle of life that supports this process. We could even consider that Mr. Namae, who uses ARI’s ingredients, may have already joined the ARI cycle. Also, all of our supporters who eat and live together with us are part of this cycle.
ARI describes this process as peace from the soil, and we seek world peace by living and eating together with oppressed people and farmers who stand on the soil. ARI seeks to nurture grassroots leaders who will, in turn, foster self-reliant communities in rural areas of the world, confronting social challenges such as hunger, poverty, and conflict. We do this by embodying and systematizing the cycle of food and life into a training program.
Similar to what ARI expresses in its motto as That We May Live Together, Mr. Namae says to respect and help others, and gives form to this expression in L’Effervescence or Bricolage, where we eat together.
Please support ARI’s crowdfunding campaign to enhance the environment for developing leaders to create “peace from the soil” in developing countries.
Shinobu Namae Crowdfunding Message of Support
For ARI’s philosophy of building world peace, we at Effervescence enthusiastically support this project.
Shinobu Namae｜L’Effervescence Chef / Bricolage bread & co. Supervisor
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Restaurant L’Effervescence is a fervent supporter of ARI’s philosophy of building world peace. We share with ARI a belief in the importance of agriculture and food to realize world peace, and we actively practice methods of regenerating an exhausted nature, society, and culture through our daily restaurant business. We treasure growing together, sharing wisdom and joy, and treating others with kindness. We are ready to continue collaborating to build a brighter future. We hope you will join us in supporting our efforts.
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Born: February 16,1973 BirthPlace: Yokohama
graduated from university (political science of developing countries) and started working as a chef
joined “Michel BRAS TOYA Japon” （and staging at Laguiole/ France)
became Sous chef of “Michel BRAS TOYA Japon”
joined “The Fat Duck” in Bray, Berkshire, England, as Sous chef / pastry
back to Japon
opened Restaurant “L’Effervescence”