If you knew sushi

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - JU­DITH ELEN

In De­cem­ber, 2013, washoku, the art of tra­di­tional Ja­panese home-cook­ing, was des­ig­nated an In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage by UNESCO. Part of the plea­sure of a visit to Ja­pan is eat­ing in­trigu­ing food that might seem am­bi­tious to cook back home. But why not learn from the lo­cals? There are cour­ses con­ducted by en­ter­pris­ing Ja­panese home cooks as well as pro­fes­sional culi­nary classes that in­tro­duce un­fa­mil­iar in­gre­di­ents, teach tra­di­tional dishes and con­clude with a com­mu­nal meal.

TOKYO In the cen­tral Tsuk­iji dis­trict, site of Tsuk­iji Fish Mar­ket, famed for its tuna auc­tions, chef Ak­ila Inouye at Tsuk­iji Soba Academy and Tokyo Cook­ing Stu­dio of­fers classes mak­ing (thin, usu­ally buck­wheat) soba noo­dles. Demon­stra­tions and hands-on prac­tice are fol­lowed by lunch. Prices vary depend­ing on class num­bers and range from 2½-hour ses­sions to 10-day pro­fes­sional cour­ses, and can also cover gen­eral Ja­panese cook­ing, from essen­tials to ad­vanced; soba.spe­cial­ist.co.jp; tokyo.cook­ingstu­dio.org.

At Ja­panese Cook­ing Class Tokyo with Mari, there are English-lan­guage classes and tast­ings at Mari’s home, five min­utes’ walk from Tsuk­iji Fish Mar­ket. Mari teaches dishes such as chi­rashi sushi (scat­tered sushi), tem­pura, udon, teriyaki, okonomiyaki, kat­sudon, gy­oza, sim­mered mack­erel in miso and boiled egg­plant. She says she is the only Tokyo provider of English classes in Ja­panese sweet-mak­ing, such as green tea cake; ja­panese-cook­ing-class-tokyo-mari.com.

SEKI (GIFU PRE­FEC­TURE) At Ozeki Cook­ing School (in the 100-year-old Ya­makyu Res­tau­rant), chef Shuji of­fers work­shops cus­tomised for skill lev­els, di­ets and time sched­ules and in­clud­ing washoku, bento, zazen (med­i­ta­tive or monas­tic cook­ing) and tea cer­e­mony; classes can cater for two to 12 stu­dents over four, six or eight hours. Shuji in­cludes ex­cur­sions, per­haps pick­ing veg­eta­bles or catch­ing fish. Lunchtime classes are also avail­able in a Tokyo res­i­dence; oze­ki­cook­ingschool.com.

KY­OTO Home cook Emi Hi­rayama of Uzuki Cook­ery of­fers small-group ses­sions at her home, teach­ing ev­ery­thing from Kyo-ry­ori (Ky­oto cui­sine) to tra­di­tional home­style Ja­panese dishes, veg­e­tar­ian and wa­gashi (Ja­panese sweets); stu­dents share the meal fol­low­ing each class; ky­otouzuki.com.

At the fam­ily-run Haru Cook­ing Class, hus­band and wife Taro and Yoshiko in­vite par­tic­i­pants into their Ky­oto home, of­fer­ing three to four-hour classes fo­cus­ing more on de­mys­ti­fy­ing in­gre­di­ents and im­part­ing ba­sic un­der­stand­ing than on hands-on cook­ing; ky­oto-cook­ing-class.com.

At Kafu, a “cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence cen­tre” in Ky­oto’s mu­seum quar­ter, chef-patissiere Mari Itoh and three lo­cal in­struc­tors teach Ky­oto home-cook­ing to lo­cals and tourists. The menu in­cludes dashi, veg­eta­bles with miso sauce, yuba roll and rolled omelette. Classes run for just un­der 90 min­utes; kafu.co.

Cook­ing Sun of­fers classes for up to eight par­tic­i­pants in a re­fur­bished machiya, tra­di­tional town­house, at Shi­m­o­gyo-ku, 10 min­utes on foot from Shijo/Kara­suma Sta­tion. A 3½-hour morn­ing bento class demon­strates go­maae sesame salad, teriyaki chicken, egg roll, tem­pura, sushi roll and miso soup. Classes in kappo (“over the counter” food) teach three to five dishes in two ses­sions; cook­ing-sun.com.

HOKKAIDO Niseko Ski Re­sort, in the north­ern is­land of Hokkaido, of­fers Ja­panese cook­ing work­shops in English hosted by Sachiko Kageyama and themed as Ja­panese Home Din­ner or Ja­panese Lunch Set and Su­per­mar­ket Tour. Three-hour ses­sions are held at the vil­lage’s Gourmet Cook­ing Stu­dio, where par­tic­i­pants pre­pare, ar­range and then eat the meal to­gether, and there are ho­tel trans­fers pro­vided; nisekoalpineac­com­mo­da­tion.com.

OSAKA World-renowned pro­fes­sional Ja­panese cook­ery school Tsuji Culi­nary In­sti­tute runs cour­ses ex­clu­sively in Ja­panese but of­fers a com­plete syl­labus in English on DVD; es­sen­tial­japanesec­ook­ing.com.

Fans of Ja­panese food have plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn how to re-cre­ate dishes back home

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.