the index

Join me in our hilltop home in Mirukashi for three days of cooking elegant kateryori (home cooked) meals. With my home as our base, we'll plan seasonal meals, cook together, plate our food on the myriad of hand crafted wares we find on the shelves, and feast together. We'll explore the flavors of the seasons in the context of one of the world’s greatest culinary traditions. We’ll take our cues from the old almanac that divides the year into 24 seasons, each with its own special taste combinations. We'll venture out on one or two jaunts to meet local growers or producers to better understand our ingredients and surroundings.

Each session opens with a welcome dinner followed by three full days together exploring the flavors of the season at hand. 

To keep the experience intimate, the group size is limited to 6 people.

Day 1: Arrival and welcome dinner at a beloved local restaurant.
Day 2: All day cooking and feasting together at my home.
Day 3: A special workshop and/or outing designed to dive deeper into our ingredients and surroundings followed by a private dinner at the home of our best local chef.
Day 4: One more full day of cooking and feasting together in Mirukashi.

The cost is 1750 USD. The fee covers three lunches, four dinners with drink, and all costs associated with our workshops and outings. Travel to and from Karatsu, accommodation, and daily transportation to and from meeting points are also not included. Regarding accommodation, I can offer suggestions across a range of budgets.

* Programs outside of those described below can be arranged for groups of 6 people.



mostly cooking, a lot of eating, and a little exploring

A culinary Arts immersion

spring

on the table

spring

spring

summer

summer

summer

autumn

autumn

autumn

winter

Winter

Winter

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Winter loosens its grip in February. It is said that spring begins on the day of risshun, February  4. Fukinoto, the shoots of butterbur buds, are proof that the earth is slowly waking. We’ll forage these bitter buds (my favorite wild vegetable) and explore this season of winter crossing over to spring. As evening draws we build fires in the stove and roast satoimo (taro) on the coals. We’ll gather around a simmering pot of broth and flash cook ruby red rounds of wild baor. We’ll enjoy piping hot kaburamushi, grated winter turnips steamed with red snapper and tiger lily bulbs, and many others dishes that marry the sweet roots and hearty greens of winter with the herbaceous flavors of early spring. 

February’s outing is a most special one. We’ll travel to the Ariake Sea and board a boat to see where and how Japan’s finest nori is grown. 

first spring

February 11-14, 2021

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There are so many joyful fresh flavors in this early spring season. Fresh wild vegetables from mountain and sea are growing more and more abundant. We'll forage for tsukushi (horsetail) and other wild produce from the hills and gather the first tender shoots of watercress from a mountain stream. And on the aquatic side this is the season of delicious shellfish and the first fresh wakame harvest. I’ll show you how to prepare raw wakame and and ready it for a myriad of early spring dishes.

We’ll delve into the world of Japan’s national drink with a visit to a local brewery and shop to learn about the categories and flavors of sake, how it’s made, and how best to enjoy it.

of mountain & sea

March 18-21, 2021

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The shoots of giant bamboo are breaching. In fact there is much to gather from the wild in this season including warabi (bracken ferns), and fuki, the stems of giant butterbur. Red snapper, considered the king of fish, is said to be most delicious in the this season of sakura. And the fresh baby leaves of kinome are unfurling from our sansho trees. The cornucopia begins.

We’ll enjoy a private wagashi workshop to learn how Japan’s renowned confectionaries are made and explore two local architectural gems that showcase classical Japanese architecture. We’ll enjoy the sweets we made in the morning with matcha in the the tearoom of one of these estates. 

spring bounty

April 8-11, 2021

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This is a most glorious time of year. We look to the patchwork of spring greens dotted with purple blooms of wild wisteria and say the mountains are laughing. Spring gives way to early summer in the month of April and it is such a vibrant month for dining. The sansho leaves are large and soft and prime for sanshoae, my all time favorite dressing for simmered bamboo shoots. There is still so much to gather from the hills while garden produce is also ripening. 

We are surrounded by tea fields soon to be harvested and many tea trees grow wild in the neighborhood. We’ll try our hand at picking, roasting, and brewing fresh wild tea leaves.  

The season of tea

April 22-25, 2021

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This is a very special workshop for those who like to dive deep. It’s all hands on deck for the ume harvest from which we will begin the process of making umeboshi (pickled plums) and umeshu (ume liqueur). When the plum work is done, we’ll prepare a feast of summer delights and incorporate the ume flavor wherever we can. We’ll cook a whole octopus and enjoy it sliced with an umeboshi and soy dressing. We’ll make chilled chawamushi custard and my summer favorite, goya, bitter melon. We’ll add cherry tomatoes with a shirae tofu dressing and if we’re lucky shio-uni, a local delicacy of salted sea urchin. The days are warm and humid and sips of cool shincha, the first tea of the season, is sweet and reviving.

We’ll also enjoy a private workshop and learn to make onigiri, rice balls with savory fillings that are perfect for summer picnics.

plum work

June 17-20, 2021

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Fall is a feast for all of the senses. The momiji maples flame red and its eponymous snapper is the most delicious of the year. Emerald green gingko nuts adorn the fall table and ripe persimmon hang like jewels from bare branches. Shiitake and wild wood's ear mushrooms grow on a stumps in the yard while root vegetables - gobo (burdock), kabu (turnip), and daikon radishes - sweeten in the autumn chill. We'll drink copious cups of roasted green tea and sake warmed atop a kindled wood stove.

The winter brewing season has begun and that includes one of Japan’s most important flavors, soy. We’ll visit a brewery to learn how this umami rich elixir is made.

Fall harvest

November 25-28, 2021

Follow along for a visual feast at the seasonal table and be the first to know about new adventures and workshops. #epicureanideals #mirukashi

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