Events In-Depth

2008 Summer Immersion Workshop for High School Students
Japanese Cuisine 101: Washoku

Priority application deadline for 2010 Summer Immersion Workshop for High School Students: Japanese Cuisine 101: Washoku, is June 3, 2010.

Monday-Friday, August 4-8, 11-15, 10 am-4 pm each day

Student Demonstration & Reception: Saturday, August 16, 2008

@ Kenji Takigami.

Twenty-three high school students participated in an 11-day workshop on Japanese cuisine and culture, during which they examined the multifaceted history of Japanese cuisine. Through demonstrations by professional chefs and participation in basic cooking sessions, participants learned about Japan’s emphasis on the seasonality of food (shun), quality of ingredients and presentation, as well as dining etiquette and manners. Knowledge of various Japanese dishes and drinks were imparted and enhanced throughout the workshop as students explored Japanese restaurants and the Urasenke Chanoyu Center in New York City, as well at Mitsuwa Marketplace and Uoriki Fresh Fish Market in New Jersey. The second half of the workshop was spent in the Astor Center NYC kitchen, where the students tried their hands at making popular Japanese dishes - rice balls (onigiri), rolled sushi (makizushi), soba noodles, sukiyaki, tempura, curry rice, and Japanese pastry (wagashi) - under the guidance of professional chefs and culinary experts. On the final day of the program, participating student-chefs hosted a reception and demonstrated making rolled sushi at the Astor Center Gallery.

Comments from workshop participants:

“Being a part of the Japanese Cuisine 101: Washoku was the best thing I did all summer, and for that matter, probably one of the most exciting things I have ever done. Everyday there was something new to look forward to, either learning about food culture in Japan or tasting new foods for ourselves. I was given opportunities that I would have never been able to experience in my life without this course. We met executive chefs, restaurant owners, and ate and created amazing new foods I'd never tried before. My all time favorite Japanese dish we made would have to be sukiyaki. It's not the typical Japanese restaurant food, which made it even more exciting to make and not to mention the great taste!”
-- Sacha-Aviva Sellam Grade 10

“The great thing about the Japan Society is that they know how to approach teenagers in a way that'll encourage them to learn. When we took this cooking workshop, we weren't just learning about Japanese food, we were learning about a very important part of their culture. And who wouldn't want to learn about a country through their food?”
-- Josephine Ledda, grade 12

“The Japanese cuisine workshop was awesome!!! It was so much fun and it was really cool how we got to meet professionals in the business. Also we got to learn more about the culture which was also fun.”
-- Iman Louis-Jeune, grade 10

Alec Mitchell, Aleksander Richards, Ari Hadiks, Benjamin Parker-Goos, Emily Wong, Ethan Daniel, Iman Louis-Jeune, Jacob Barnett, Jaime Yee, Janae Spinato, Jean-Loup McIlvaine, Joseph Liu, Josephine Ledda, Joshua Kotler, Kate Floberg, Katie Jackson, Nicole Vicencio, Nora Neil, Payton Campbell, Peter Mitchell, Pia Frascatore, Rachel Turner, Sacha-Aviva Sellam


August 4: Japanese Staple Foods
Mr. Makoto Yamauchi, Director of the Agriculture & Fisheries Department, JETRO New York and Rev. Nobuyo Otagaki of International Shinto Foundation examined the rice culture in Japan from historical, geographical, religious, psychological perspectives as well as production trends.

August 5: Annual Festivals/Rituals of Japan & Associated Foods and Drinks

Rev. Nobuyo Otagaki discussed the significance of food and drinks associated with important Japanese festivals.

August 6: Japanese Tea
In the morning, Mr. Stefen Ramirez of Tea Dealers led a tasting-workshop on the history and different varieties of green tea. The afternoon was spent at the Urasenke Chanoyu Center, where Tea Master Mr. Yoshihiro Terazono demonstrated a modified tea ceremony.

August 7: A Path to Becoming a Chef

Mr. Tadashi Ono, Executive Chef at Matsuri Restaurant, spoke to participants about his career path and about life as an executive chef. Afterwards, selected students delved deeper for a filmed interview.

August 8: Uoriki Fresh and Mitsuwa Supermarket, New Jersey
Ms. Yukari Pratt led students on a tour of fish-distributor Uoriki Fresh. Students stepped (briefly) inside the -72 degree F “superfreezer,” only a handful of which can be found in North America. They then had the opportunity to try for themselves previously superfrozen sashimi. Next, students participated in a scavenger hunt in Mitsuwa Supermarket to familiarize themselves with common Japanese ingredients.

August 12: Soba

Students learned the basics of soba-making from Mr. Bon Yagi, Owner, and Mr. Pablo Sandoval, Head Soba Chef at SOBAYA Restaurant.

August 11, 13, 14: Cooking!
Chef Noriyuki Kobayashi of MEGU Restaurant taught students how to make onigiri (rice balls), maki-zushi (rolled sushi), sukiyaki, tempura, and Japanese curry.

August 15: Wagashi

Students tried their hands at making simple wagashi (Japanese sweets) with dessert chefs Ms. Hatsuko Otsuka and Ms.Miki Takahashi.

August 16: Demonstration & Reception

Participants, instructors, family and friends gathered to recognize all that the students had accomplished during the workshop. Chef Kobayashi of MEGU Restaurant and participants demonstrated cooking techniques, selected students spoke, and all enjoyed good company and good food, including hundreds of onigiri (rice balls) made by the participants that morning.

Co-sponsored with the Gohan Society 

In cooperation with Astor Center, New York City
Special thanks to:
Ms. Linda Bogan, Educator/Volunteer
Mr. Roberto Cambeiro, Facilities Supervisor, Astor Center, NYC
Ms. Stephanie Fields, Assistant Culinary Supervisor, Astor Center, NYC
Ms. Eiko Fukuda, Educator/Volunteer
Ms. Reina Hayashiabara, International Shinto Foundation
Mr. J. Zachary Kalas, Operations Director, Astor Center, NYC
Ms. Saori Kawano, President, Korin
Mr. Noriyuki Kobayashi, Chef, MEGU
Mr. Tadashi Ono, Executive Chef, MATSURI
Reverend Nobuyo Otagaki, International Shinto Foundation
Ms. Hatsuko Otsuka and Ms.Miki Takahashi, dessert chefs
Ms. Yukari Pratt, Chef and Administrative Coordinator, Uoriki Fresh
Mr. Stefen Ramirez, Tea Dealers
Mr. Pablo Sandoval, Soba Chief Chef, SOBAYA
Mr. Kenji Takigami, Photographer, The Gohan Society
Ms. Taeko Takigami, Executive Director, The Gohan Society
Mr. Yoshihiro Terazono, Urasenke Chanoyu Center
Ms. Lesley Townsend, Director, Astor Center, NYC
Mr. Howard T. Voss, Chef, MEGU
Mr. Bon Yagi, President, T.I.C Group
Mr. Makoto Yamauchi, Director, Agriculture and Fisheries, JETRO

Scholarship funding provided by:
Mr. Bill Hodges
Mr. Navindran Hodges

Generous contributions by:
Mutual Trading, Inc.
Nishimoto Trading Co, Ltd.
Yamaya USA Inc. Trading

Education Programs are made possible by generous funding from The Freeman Foundation.

Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Lesley Nan Haberman, Ms. Hiroko Onoyama, Joshua S. Levine and Nozomi Terao.

Family and Student Programs are supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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