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Cooking class with Yakitori Chef in Japan

cbonomo Mar 27, 2014 02:56 PM

I'm planning a food-centric vacation to Japan (probably focusing on Tokyo) this summer. One thing that I'd like to do is get some cooking instruction from a yakitori chef. I'm addicted to the stuff...so much so that I have my own konro (yakitori grill -- yes, using binchotan charcoal) at home and make yakitori any chance I get (my kids LOVE the stuff). I have researched the cooking schools in Tokyo -- but none of them offer real yakitori instruction using charcoal grill. Anyone know of a yakitori chef who might be interested in providing instruction?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions and help.

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    edozanmai RE: cbonomo Apr 8, 2014 08:00 AM

    I have been waiting to see if anyone would ever respond to this somewhat interesting post but I guess it is not going to happen. The reason being, I believe, that yakitori, as with many other Japanese foods, are not taught in a classroom but by direct transmission, from one person to another. All the people I know that have yakitori shops, or sushi as well, learned their "stuff" by working for and or with their masters, people that had such and such restaurants.

    That being said, I think that if you are really into yakitori that you may be able to find someone to coach you, to give you some advice. But it will most likely need to be from some sort of personal relationship with the person you want to learn from. In other words, find a place you like, get to know the person, even if it is only for two or three days, and then ask him to teach you. And when I say "him" I mean as it is almost always going to be a male.

    The two big things you will most likely want to need learn are how to cut up a chicken Japan style and how to make tare, the marinate sauce. Butchering is easy; good tare takes years to develop. If you find a yakitori shop you really like and ask someone for some basic translation help, I am sure the master will help you out.

    Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: edozanmai
      cbonomo RE: edozanmai Apr 9, 2014 05:48 PM

      Thank you, edozanmai, for your advice. After hours searching the internet, contacting cooking schools in Tokyo to see if they can make an introduction and generally racking my brain for ideas, your idea seems to be my best bet. I'll try to find a neighborhood yakitori restaurant in an out of the way part of of Tokyo and give your idea a try when I'm there.

    2. l
      la2tokyo RE: cbonomo Apr 8, 2014 03:33 PM

      There is an amazing yakitori book that is relatively new - there are step by step instructions with pictures for each step for yakitori preparations from a bunch of famous yakitori restaurants in Japan. Regardless of whether you find personal help, the book would be invaluable to you. Even without reading Japanese, you would probably learn more from the book than a single day in a yakitori restaurant.


      3 Replies
      1. re: la2tokyo
        cbonomo RE: la2tokyo Apr 9, 2014 05:53 PM

        la2tokyo -- thank you for the recommendation. There's a Kinokuniya here in San Francisco. I'll check with them to see if I can get it here.

        1. re: cbonomo
          la2tokyo RE: cbonomo Apr 9, 2014 10:29 PM

          If they don't have it in SF it's on the shelves at most major bookstores in Tokyo.

          1. re: la2tokyo
            cbonomo RE: la2tokyo Apr 12, 2014 03:50 PM

            Woo-hoo! Kinokuniya here in SF can get it for me in about two weeks. They had a "store copy" to peruse. I leafed through it and it did look like a great resource. Thanks again for the suggestion.

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