Reiko Hashimoto has been teaching Japanese cooking for over 12 years. Born in Kyoto and brought up in a traditional Japanese household. After working in Hong Kong and travelling around the world she has an international interest and understanding of food. She lives in Southwest London where her cookery school HASHI is based. Reiko has also appeared on many television programmes and is considered by many the acknowledged expert on Japanese food in the UK. I was fortunate enough to participate in her beginners cookery course and absolutely loved it and it has greatly broadened my approach to Japanese food. I am looking forward to progressing to the next class!
Reiko welcomes you into her home over a series of evenings. We were a small group some of whom had travelled some distance. Reiko introduces an abundance of new ingredients miso, stocks, seasonings, vinegars, marinades and such a selection of dried seaweeds in different shapes and sizes. All the produce is very fresh and Reiko clearly explains the techniques required for each dish. Many of the ingredients are quite alien and she insists that we photograph some of the packaging for many of the sauces, batters and seasonings that we are expected to use and she is quite right. When I visited the Japanese supermarket the next morning I was very grateful to have references on my phone to remind me what I was supposed to purchase admit the sea of unusual produce I was presented with!
In Reikos’ well laid out kitchen we all very attentively watched while she demonstrated how each dish is produced. Lots of opportunities to also join in and experiment too which makes it easier to remember how to do things when you try again at home as well. The use and techniques with vegetables was inspiring and easy to adapt to a variety of seasonal produce. Some of the things we made which I particularly liked and have reproduced at home again are the Gyoza, Black Cod, the soba noodles and flavoured rice. We also made Tofu filled bags which I would have had no concept of how to prepare before Riekos’ instruction. Of course we also covered sushi which was fantastic and tempura. I think it is safe to say that all the dishes we tasted were delicious and after an evening of preparation our group all sat down with a lovely chilled glass of wine to enjoy our hard work.