Stuck at home? Always wanted to learn how to cook Japanese cuisine? Well, Mayuko, a young Japanese chef from Tokyo, might have the answer for you. She offers fun online Japanese cooking class so you can feel like you too are in Tokyo! We have asked her a few questions.
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Mayuko. I grew up in Choshi city, which has one of the biggest harvests of fresh fish in Japan. I has been strongly influenced by my mother, who was a professional cooking teacher.
Why did you start your own Japanese cooking class?
I used to work in a cosmetics company called LUSH. I was a sub manager at that time and I was hoping to become a manager. When I was working at a retail shop, a Finnish couple came in to buy some products and we chatted for a while. It was in 2011.
The next year, the same couple came to our shop again. And the year after that too! They said they came to Japan again since they fell in love with Japan. That made me very happy.
As they were staying in Japan for one month, I guided them all around Tokyo, introducing to them good restaurants and inviting them to my home for dinner. We met almost every other day. I really enjoyed telling them about Japanese culture through food.
After they left, the idea suddenly popped into my mind: Why not offer my own Japanese cooking classes? I love talking and teaching about Japanese culture through food. Besides, my Mom used to be a cooking teacher, and I love meeting new people.
So, I decided to offer my own Japanese cooking classes. My mission would be to introduce Japanese culture though authentic food to foreign visitors. To prepare, I went to cooking courses, and, in January 2015, I opened Mayuko’s Little Kitchen. Since then I have been teaching visitors to Japan from all over the world (more than 2,500 people from 35 different countries) about Japanese culture through the preparation of authentic Japanese home cuisine.
What kind of experience do you offer?
I started offering in-person class in my home. Then from last May I started online classes so that even if my guests cannot come to Japan, Japan can come to them even during the pandemic. Besides, I teach “cooking survival series in Japan”. It is a four classes series of cooking class, especially made for expats using local ingredients. The online class is 1.5 to 2 hours. You can learn how to make gyoza wrapper and gyoza, sushi roll, miso soup etc.
Why do you think Japanese cuisine is so special?
Since Japan was closed until the Edo period, a unique food culture was cultivated in Japan. What I especially think is special is that the food is not considered just by its flavor but “five senses”: flavor, texture, smell, presentation and the sound of cooking. Also, I love and never miss to say the words “itadakimasu (the phrase before eating)” and “gochisousama (the phrase after eating)” even when I eat solo. Those words meaning includes the appreciation for the things (nature, ingredients, chefs, carrier) which lead the food in front of us.
What is your favorite Japanese food?
Definitely raw fish! I love tuna, sardine, yellow tail…since I grew up in a city which has the biggest harvest of the fish.The city is called Choshi and it takes 2 hours from Tokyo by train to go there. I also have there a cooking class in the traditional wooden house of my grandparents’ once a month.
What is your Japanese food guilty pleasure?
It is tonkotsu ramen of Jyangara Ramen in Harajuku.The soup smell is strong, rich, powerful and high in calorie. I order the noodles as “konaotoshi (super hard)”. You will still have a full tummy even 5 hours after enjoying this dish.
Want to join Mayuko for a Japanese cooking class?
Even if your are not an experimented cook, we highly recommend joining one of Mayuko’s class. She is super fun and easy to talk to and you will for sure spend a nice time and learn a lot about Japanese culture! Her explanations are really simple and clear so you will be sure to eat a delicious meal at the end of the class. You will also for sure be able to cook it again all by yourself to impress your friends and family.
Join now Japanese cooking class on her website: Mayuko’s Little Kitchen
Her instagram to follow her culinary journey : here
You can also gift a class to one of your love ones! If you are looking for other Japan lovers gift ideas, check out our gifts ideas in our article: 4 best gift ideas for someone who loves Japan.