In her quest to bring everything she loves about her home country to her community, Takako Shoji Boyle is once again offering Sudbury a taste of Japan. But this time, you get to take new skills home with you.
Boyle is now offering a series of workshops at her restaurant, Kako’s Kitchen, sharing the techniques behind miso, sushi rolls, and everyone’s favourite, mochi.
Boyle is originally from Tokyo, Japan, and she has been working to bring her love of her culture to Canada, both so she can share, but also to ensure her family here will always know the flavours of Japan.
A celebration of Japanese art, food and culture, Boyle also said the Japan Festival is important to establish a community so that recent immigrants have a way to feel connected to Japan and to help pass on Japanese culture to the next generation.
In June, Boyle expanded her catering business and opened her restaurant, Kako’s Kitchen, a Japanese takeout restaurant that uses traditional artisanal methods to create each menu item. It is located at 434 Westmount Ave unit B, where the workshops will be held.
She said she thought about creating video content to showcase the techniques, but decided that took away from her intent.
“I really like to share our culture, and while people can learn from YouTube or something, it's more important to do something with a friend or family, or even children,” Boyle told Sudbury.com, noting that children are welcome to participate in her workshops, though capacity is limited. “I like to see families together and they've learned together,” she said.
She said guests of previous workshops have loved pounding the mochi dough, made of adzuki bean paste and only lightly sweetened, to show off the freshness of the fruit inside. The pounding of the bean dough gives it a smooth texture, and also makes it “nice and stretchy.” The dough is then wrapped around the fruit.
Miso is a fermented paste that’s made by inoculating a mixture of soybeans with a mold called koji (Aspergillus oryzae) that’s been cultivated from rice, barley, or soybeans. Over weeks or sometimes years, the enzymes in the koji work together with the microorganisms in the environment to break down the structure of the beans and grains into a flavour that overwhelms the senses with savory goodness.
Sushi rolls are a somewhat easy mix of ingredients, sometimes containing fish or seafood but also avocado, cucumber and other interesting vegetables, there is rice and a nori sheet to contend with — the part of the roll that needs to roll— and that is why it would be handy to have a practiced hand show you how.
The workshops are ongoing, and you can find dates, times and cost by visiting the Kako’s Kitchen website, here.
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with Sudbury.com. She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized, including the Black, Indigenous, newcomer and Francophone communities, as well as 2SLGBTQ+ and issues of the downtown core.