Living near the mountains close to Mount Fuji, my mother is a fanatical cook who instilled the virtues of well-prepared food in me at an early age. Growing up there, fresh air, beautiful scenery and home-grown organic vegetables set the scene for every meal. The exciting buzz of Tokyo was an hour and half away, which fuelled my exploration of Japanese food beyond my region.
I moved to the USA and studied classical music at university, in Chicago. When I finished the course, my passion for cooking had taken over and inspired me to train as a chef. I studied to become a professional Cordon Bleu chef at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute. My first appointment was in the Soul Kitchen restaurant in Chicago, working with Chef Curtis Giszczynski. There, I learned the craft of line cooking in an exceedingly busy restaurant, and later helped Chef Curtis to develop Asian and fusion dishes.
Back in Japan I was a consultant for the “Rock” restaurant and microbrewery, with menu planning and the development of fusion dishes. My return encouraged me to develop my knowledge of traditional and modern Japanese techniques, augmenting the skills I had learned on the Cordon Bleu course. Revisiting Japanese cuisine after my European training allowed me to experience my own heritage in a new light. I was trained by master noodle chef Serizawa, with whom I learned special Soba and Udon noodle skills.
Later, I moved to England and worked for authentic Japanese restaurants in central London. I developed new recipes for both the restaurants and a Japanese delicatessen; where I also created a new menu. Whilst working at the company I was struck by the increasing popularity of Japanese food. The clientele were largely Japanese, but more and more Europeans and Americans seemed to be enjoying the food. People queued up to buy take-away meals for their lunches and parties. I started to hear them say “I can’t make this at home so I have no choice to but buy it” or “I wish I could make this at home”. This inspired me to change from cooking Japanese food to sell; to teaching the skills of making Japanese food as a Japanese cookery teacher.
My passion is using readily available ingredients, wherever I find myself, with Japanese cookery techniques to create unique, flavoursome recipes. I love to cook the results for friends or family and teach others how to do the same.