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UZUKI Japanese Cooking with Emi Hirayama

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Testimonials

When I settled in Kyoto, I knew nothing about Japanese gastronomy. I did not even know what miso was! In order to find my way in supermarkets and to understand better menus in restaurants, I decided then to take a cooking class with Emi. I met a tiny lovely woman, who was cheerful, caring and enthusiastic, and who could explain me in good English the different kinds of miso, the uses of soy sauce, the secrets of rice cooking, some vegetable combinations, how to prepare fish... And so many other things! I enjoyed so much this experience that I go back regularly to Emi's kitchen. Indeed she always makes sure to choose seasonal and local ingredients, preferably organic. That is why each class is different from another, and changes in season are also a good opportunity to learn more about Japanese customs. Afterwards I like doing the dishes again at home, and my French friends with whom I have shared recipes manage also to do them in France. Why asking more?
-- Magali Tardivel-Lacombe


Hello Emi, My sister-in-law Carmen left Japan today; everyday that she was here we spoke about last week's class and tried to remember details of the experience. First, it was very interesting to be inside a Japanese kitchen. I have Japanese friends but I have never gone past the dining room! It was also nice to watch you work, how you orchestrate all these parallel cooking activities so that everything is ready at the same time. Some of the ingredients we used were new to us, for instance the sansho peppers, those really blew our mind with their numbing, their tingling and their explosions of taste; getting some in the kitchen is very high on both our to-do lists. Each dish was excellent, the combinations were lovely. The atmosphere in the kitchen was pleasant. Carmen has bought Japanese cookbooks since, and my own interest in cooking new dishes was stimulated by this meeting.

–Sincerely, Michele Ouellet

Cooking with Emi was one of the most interesting parts of my trip to Japan! Emi is very friendly and hospitable and she makes you feel like a friend that has come over for lunch, not just a student in a class. While we cooked, conversation flowed and good times were had! Thanks for everything!

- Lidiana

We were also very fortunate to find our way to Hirayama-sensei and her Kyoto Uzuki Cooking School. Teaching small classes from her kitchen, Hirayama-sensei was a lovely, gracious, and knowledgeable guide to the refined cuisine of JapanŐs former imperial capital. For our session, she had planned out a chilled chawanmushi (savory egg custard), summertime rice with myoga ginger, yuba (tofu skin) tempura, green bean salad with toasted sesame dressing, and light-fried eggplant with white miso and yuzu zest. Cooking with someone so passionate and well-informed was a joy, and to do it in a Japanese home was a rare treat indeed."

- Luke

Emi is a wonderful teacher and a gifted cook. Each lesson I learned many new Japanese dishes and every one of them was delicious. She is vey accommodating with cooking menus, taking into account all of the dietary and personal food preferences of each student. We learned how to make tofu, Japanese sweets, soups, fried dishes, steamed dishes, bento boxed lunches, and many other items, many of which I had never encountered in restaurants. Every lesson is held in Emi’s charming kitchen and the class is finished by eating the meal that we prepared in class, accompanied with tea and good conversation. I would recommend Emi’s class to anyone interested in learning how to cook traditional Japanese food, and I plan on returning for more lessons in my spring semester.

– Kat

My ten cooking classes with Emi made my three and a half month stay in Kyoto particularly delightful. The ten classes were very different from each other, but equally fun and delicious. Emi introduced us to a great diversity of ingredients and dishes and the wonderful flavors and textures of Kyoto cuisine. White miso soup, goma dofu, scattered sushi, colorful seasonal o-bento boxes and traditional sweets were just some of my favorites. The food we made in class was truly some of the most delicious I have eaten and it was beautifully arranged, too. I gathered delicious new recipes and learned a lot more about Japanese culture. Emi was a good teacher and a joy to spend time with.

– Abigail

Emi-san’s cooking class was one of my best Japan cultural experiences. I learned a tremendous amount about the various cuisines of this beautiful country, from basic Dashi (broth) to Kyoto-Ryori specialties like Shira Ae, my personal favorite, spinach in a white- miso/sesame dressing. Yum... I’m going to enjoy trying to recreate these flavors at home. We were both very interested in sharing stories and cultural anecdotes, it even turns out Ms. Hirayama visited and loved my home of Quebec, Canada! We had such a lovely afternoon cook-out, topped by an incredible meal at the end. I just had to return and learn how to properly prepare Sushi ! Ms. Hirayama is very knowledgeable about all aspects of Japan cooking and very generous with her time and teaching. I loved it. Merci beaucoup Emi- san.

– Marc

Meeting with Emi, I learned the foundations and fundamentals of Japanese cooking and am now able to prepare delicious meals for myself on a daily basis. More importantly, I truly enjoyed meeting with Emi; it was more of a dinner between friends than a formal cooking class. I enjoyed my first class so much that I came back two more times.

– Jordan

Ms. Emi taught us the very usual and yet, extremely good Japanese dishes. She's kind enough to explain to us the very necessary ingredients in each dish.

For us to really understand what it is for, and how it's good for the body. I really enjoyed the first lesson and I am looking forward again to attend another one.

Thank you very much Ms. Emi!

– Trini

We enjoyed the cooking lesson immensely. The preparation of Japanese food (which we like very much) includes ingredients which we have never seen before.

Emi makes it easier for us to understand what we are eating. The lunch Emi prepared was delicious as well as beautiful to look at.

Thank you again.

– Ruth

It was a pleasure to take part of Emis cooking class. In a warm, homely atmosphere, Emi gave detailed explainations while cooking delicious food that we all enjoyed together afterwards (I especially loved the tempura!). I took home many new impressions, a warm glow in my belly and much detailed material to help me prepare Japanese dishes myself.

Thank you again.

– Sybille

I enjoyed my two classes with Hirayama-san immensely and I look forward to preparing the dishes I learned from her in Germany for my friends and family.

– Manuela and Regina