It is not a big secret, that I mostly perceive foreign cultures via eating. In my opinion, taste and look of local food actually gives the most accurate and thorough representation of nation’s historical background as well as modern tendencies. Hence our rule: every country we visit, I am trying to immerse in local cuisine as much as possible. Mostly by eating, of course, but preferably by cooking.
(editor’s note: “Nah, we just try to eat ourselves to death.”)
So the Japan was not an exception. The first morning we woke up in Tokyo, we headed straight to cooking class hosted by YUCa. The theme of the class was seemingly common: ramen and gyoza, but it gave us the perfect base foundation, to stack our further knowledge of Japanese cuisine on. You must learn to walk before you fly, right? The class itself was ideally structured to fit the timeframe and size of the group (it was six of us). Everybody got actively involved, no time was wasted, as there was always something going on to see-taste-try. The program was not too easy to get bored, but not too difficult, so everybody could keep up easily. That is thanks to a wide range of techniques included in the menu. You steam, boil, chop, fry, sear, season, work with dough and constantly taste, smell and adjust. The result of our common effort was above and beyond delicious. And, the most important thing is: the recipes are totally reproducible in Estonia =)
And the food aside, YUCa was the most efficient, caring and attentive instructor. As a result of our experience, we spent one awesome morning with amazing people in the interesting place, we learned something new and got a benchmark to compare our next ramen and gyoza to. =) Interesting thing is, same as our last couple of cooking classes abroad, we were the first visitors from Estonia…
Eventually, every chef who embarks on a road of teaching foreigners wants to promote the cuisine of his country and in this regard YUCa does the most admirable job. So I encourage everybody to take part in cooking classes, courses or just tasting tours all over the world: hear the story behind the ingredients, smell the aroma, study the dish visually, feel the texture and of course, taste. And if you ever come to Japan for something beyond sushi, the YUCa’s Japanese Cooking class is a definite go to experience!