Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Washoku: Harmonious Cooking in the Traditional Japanese Kitchen

Slow Foodies, this is not a SFO sponsored event but, we thought it might be of interest to our membership! Be sure to checkout the Brew Master's Dinner coming up in posting.

World-class Japanese culinary expert Elizabeth Andoh to visit Hawai‘i in August
Author and authority on traditional Japanese cooking will teach “harmony of food”

HONOLULU—Learn how to bring washoku, a Japanese philosophy of the “harmony of food,” to your kitchen and next meal when Elizabeth Andoh, world-class culinary instructor and author of Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, presents a two-hour culinary program and demonstration, Washoku: Harmonious Cooking in the Traditional Japanese Kitchen, on Thursday, August 24, 2006 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH), fifth floor. Doors open at 5:15 p.m., program starts at 6 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Andoh will introduce basic washoku concepts—cooking with five colors, five flavors and in five ways—and show how these principles bring harmony to a meal. Ticket cost is $40 for JCCH members; $50 for non-members and includes an obentō (Japanese boxed) supper. The book will also be on sale for $28 for JCCH members; $35 for non-members. Andoh will be available for book signing. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the JCCH at (808) 945-7633 or email
Washoku, literally “the harmony of food,” is a Japanese way of thinking about what we eat and how it can nourish us, explains Andoh in her 300-page book. “The philosophy and practice of washoku can best be summarized by a set of five principles that describe how to achieve nutritional balance and aesthetic harmony at mealtime,” writes Andoh.
“After being with Mrs. Andoh, you will come away with a greater appreciation of Japanese cuisine and a working Japanese kitchen,” said Joan Namkoong, a board member of the Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana and food author.
During her presentation, Andoh will prepare Sansho Pepper-Crusted fish with fresh pineapple garnish; Hand-Pressed Rice tossed with Gingery Ground Chicken with nori (seaweed) bands; Broiled Tofu with Flavored Miso (soybean paste); Leek Miso Greens Steeped in Broth and Soy-Braised Sun-Dried Radish Ribbons, Carrots, Konnyaku (a jelly-like block made from yam), Fried Tofu Kelp and Mushroom Relish.
Each recipe follows the washoku principles that balance the 15 elements: five colors (red, yellow, green, black and white), five flavors (salty, sour, sweet, bitter and spicy) and five cooking techniques (which include basics such as simmering, broiling and steaming).
Although the origins of washoku are deeply rooted in Japanese culinary history and habits, Andoh points out in the book that washoku as a style of eating is easily applied to any cuisine. “Washoku can be practiced and enjoyed outside Japan, by Japanese and non-Japanese alike,” she said. “A washoku approach to cooking gives the creative and contemplative cook an opportunity to satisfy his or her own aesthetic hunger while providing sustenance and sensory pleasures to others.”
In conjunction with the public program, Andoh will also present an in-depth educational workshop for culinary professionals and students on August 23 at the Culinary Institute for the Pacific, Kapiolani Community College. The training session will focus on the three key ingredients found in the washoku pantry – soy sauce, miso, and vinegar. By sampling and comparing varieties of each item, participants will learn how these ingredients contribute flavor and nutrition to traditional dishes. In addition to ingredients, Andoh will demonstrate the rhythm and flow of kitchen activity.
Born and raised in America, Andoh's formal culinary training is from the Yanagihara Kinsaryu School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine in Tōkyō, Japan. Andoh is a writer, lecturer and business consultant, specializing in Japanese food and culture. She is a member of the Japan Food Journalists (JFJ) association, the International Association of Cooking Professionals (IACP), and is Gourmet Magazine's Japan correspondent. She has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles and authored several cookbooks. Her most recent cookbook, WASHOKU: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, won a 2006 Jane Grigson award for “distinguished scholarship” and earned her a James Beard Award nomination in the category of International Cookbooks.
Andoh has made Japan her home for nearly 40 years. She is the owner and director of A Taste of Culture culinary arts program ( A Taste of Culture offers classes and field trips in the Tōkyō metropolitan area that explore traditional and contemporary Japanese culture through the study of Japanese cooking.
The Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana (, a culinary non-profit foundation, is dedicated to the development and support of culinary training programs throughout the state of Hawaii to promote the unique culinary traditions of the state. The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH), a non-profit organization, strives to share the history, heritage and culture of the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i. Located in Mō‘ili‘ili, the Center features a Community and Historical Gallery, Resource Center, Kenshikan martial arts dōjō, Seikōan Japanese teahouse and Gift Shop. For more information call (808) 945-7633, email or visit the website at