Learn the secret behind soba, Japan’s deceptively simple buckwheat noodles, by a verified noodle maker. Sonoko Sakai is a former film industry hotshot who has found her passion in making artistically pure soba noodles by hand.
In an interview in Saveur, Sakai described making soba noodles as a meditative practice. Despite concocting elaborate and elegant dishes, she sees noodle making as a way to de-stress. She learned the art of noodle making from experts in Japan and usually makes ni-hachi style noodles, which are about 20 percent wheat and 80 percent buckwheat.
“Food and cooking is the easiest way to communicate with people – we’ve all got to eat,” she said. Since she started making noodles, Sakai has traveled the world to teach others the art of noodle making. She also feels that cooking and sharing food is the best way to connect with others. “When someone’s cooking for you, that’s love.”
As cook, teacher and cookbook author, she is eager to share her technique with fellow food lovers of any skill level. She adds that cooking is a lot easier than most people think and a very rewarding process.
“When you’re making things at home you’re sourcing the ingredients yourself – you get closer to the source where the food comes from and that interaction with the people who produce food is important and sustainable,” said Sakai.
On July 8, she will be hosting a workshop as part of the Japanese Supper Club. The evening will include a workshop with hands-on participation in the kitchen of the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden. This private garden is an elegantly preserved Japanese style garden and teahouse which was originally built in 1935.
After the workshop, everyone will dine on the homemade soba noodles in a hot broth with chicken, greens and ginger plus inari sushi with cucumber and herbs served with homemade pickled tofu custard with ginger syrup and sake, japanese beer and tea.
Reservations are required and may be made on the website at www.japanesegardenpasadena.com. The class and supper are $65 per person (including ingredients.)