The other day I took the Udon & Chicken Teriyaki class at Buddha Bellies Cooking School. As you may know by now, I love to eat and have a family of six to feed, so I cook! However, one of my personal goals this year is to learn how to cook Japanese food properly…finally after 15+ years in Japan. So, I will be trying out numerous classes at various schools in Tokyo to determine which school is best for me. You can also read about my cooking class experience at Tokyo Kitchen and Yuka’s Japanese Cooking. I hope you enjoy my adventure and find the information helpful. If you have a class or school to recommend, please let me know. Itadakimasu! Lauren
Buddha Bellies Cooking School
Buddha Bellies Cooking School is located at Jimbocho station. Ayuko, the owner, and teacher will meet you at the top of the stairs of exit A2 then you walk five steps to her school. Buddha Bellies Cooking School website stated “we promise you to provide not only Japanese cooking but also Japanese culture through high-quality books with its cozy surroundings.” The one room cooking school has bookcases on each side of the room which are full of books about Japanese travel, cooking, and culture that you can look if you arrive early. The room has a main table that you first prep and cook at, and then eat your masterpieces! The books and large main table make the room very cozy; like you are in someone’s one room home (of course without the bed).
My class had six students, which is the right number for the size of the room. Ayuko began by explaining the ingredients to make both chicken teriyaki and udon. She was very thorough and answered our questions with just the right amount of details. After explaining the ingredients, we broke into groups of two. Each group had a frying pan and gas burner to prepare the teriyaki chicken. I was matched with a lovely woman from New Zealand who is six months into a four-year stint in Japan. Always nice to meet new people!
The steps to cook the chicken teriyaki were easy to understand and could easily be repeated at home (you can see pictures below of cooking at home). We then moved on to udon that had us pounding our feet on bags of dough – nice workout! We then rolled the dough out and ran it through a noodle machine to make the udon. I do not have a noodle machine at home, nor am I planning to buy, so I wished that Ayuko had taught us how to cut noodles by hand. I watched some YouTube videos at home, and hand-cut mine which worked – luckily! To boil the noodles, we needed to access the main kitchen which is a very narrow room attached to the back of the main room. It was a little tight and would ideally be better if more open. However, it worked. While we waited for food to cook Ayuko taught us how to make origami chopstick covers and holders – a cute touch. After chopping, grilling, pounding and boiling we all sat down to eat our two dishes. You can also enjoy a glass of beer, sake or tea with your meal! Overall a very successful class, which was comfortable and fun!
Buddha Bellies Cooking School also has special menus for a group activity, team building workshops, or private lesson for both professionals and non-pros.
Differentiators: Very convenient to station, wide variety of classes, X-English teacher so high level of fluency and teaching skills, taught us some origami, variety of books to review if you arrive early, received gift of cooking chopsticks at the end.
Possible improvements: Served some food on paper plates. Back kitchen area is very small so hard to move around in a group (only necessary to wash hands and boil some food). Take home instructions could be improved.
Repeated the recipes at home with good results!
Buddha Bellies Cooking School Details
Address: 2-4-3 Kanda-Jinbocho, Uekuri Bldg. 2F, Chiyodaku, Tokyo
Email contact: email@example.com
Classes offered: 11 classes offered: 1. Japanese Sweets, 2. Standard Washoku (Japanese dishes), 3. Sushi, 4. Decorative sushi, 5. vegan Sushi, 6. Udon + Chicken Teriyaki steak, 7. Bento Box in Shokado style, 8. Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake) & Yakisoba Noodle, 9. Nabe (Japanese Hot Pot), 10. Suki-yaki (Japanese marbled beef in a hot pot), 11. Oyako-don (chicken and egg: For vegetarian fried tofu instead of chicken).
Class times: Most lessons start at 11:00 a.m. and between 13:00-13:30
Cost: The average cost is 7,000 yen for a 2-2.5 hour class.
Access: Directly next to Exit A2 at Jimbocho station on the Mita, Shinjuku or Hanzomon lines.
About the Instructor ( contents below from the Buddha Bellies Website)
Ayuko is a professional sushi instructor certificated by JSIA (Japan Sushi Instructor Association) and a professional Sake sommelier registered by SSI international. She has been trained as a professional cook by one of the famous Japanese Kaiseki 懐石 style cuisine (traditional Japanese Fine dining style) schools in Japan. Ayuko is a lover of food and people, believes that good foods and nice conversation will make the world peace, and loves traveling the world, and learning different culture and worlds’ recipes! Has studied Thai, Chinese, Italian and Balinese cuisine). She also took a professional license as a ‘the food sanitation supervisor’ issued by Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office (National Qualification), and has been trained and qualified as a professional English teacher and got a ‘Specialised Teacher’s license ‘（専修免許), which has been issued by Japanese Government (Ministry of Education/National Qualification). Ayuko was born and grown up in Japan, educated in UK in her teenage, fluent in English. She has a M.A. and worked in educational for more than 15 years, and found the pleasure to teach from her career experience as a professional tutor.
Buddha Bellies Cooking School
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