Step three: The resulting sheet is thin enough to see through. When chef Ukai holds the sheet up to the light, you can see white squiggles that resemble writing.
Katsuramuki is a technique that young chefs take pains to master. They purchase vegetables with their own money and often practice at home in their free time. During apprenticeships, young chefs must master this and other knife techniques on vegetables before ever touching a fish.
Haruji Ukai is a seventh generation innkeeper, but his kitchen is modern and state of the art. Yet, his tools are traditional: knives of varying sizes and types are the main tools of the trade. You won't see any cuisinart machines of microwaves in his kitchen.
To better appreciate the skills of this master chef, it's best to book a table at Kinmata's restaurant, or stay at his inn. We stayed there several years ago and it remains one of our fondest memories. The cusine changes seasonally and it is classic Kyoto kaiseki, served in beautiful surroundings on exquisite tableware that has been in Ukai's family for generations. Some of the family Imari collection is priceless and would be almost imposiible to find today.