"It was a great tour that gave a lot of insight in to how cuisine in Kyoto has evolved and the socio-cultural reasons that the food is how it is. The tour was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to experience foods that they otherwise might pass over."
Kyoto Food Tour - From Pickled Vegetables to Sweet Japanese Treats
During his first foray to a Kyoto food market, Tad was so excited and intrigued by the beautiful displays of strange ingredients that he vowed to learn to cook Japanese food. He poured over photo-illustrated cookbooks and magazines, learning to read Japanese characters from the pictures. Whenever he encountered a new dish, he hunted down the recipe, searching for cookbooks in old bookshops and at the book fairs of Shimogamo Shrine and Chion-ji Temple. With his Japanese “family,” he spent hours at the dining table and in the kitchen absorbing the flavors and cooking methods of kyobanzai home cooking. He bantered for advice from fishmongers, vegetable sellers and tofu makers. At kaiseki restaurants he trained his eye: from kappo restaurant chefs he stole snatches of technique, from a Zen monk he learned the importance of respecting ingredients just as they are. He cooked and cooked and cooked. Today, over twenty years since his first visit, he loves to share his knowledge and enthusiasm about the many delicacies of Nishiki Market.
Robin's background is varied: from design, animation & illustration, to co-running a local food company in Dublin, Ireland, to work in the Specialty Coffee scene, acting as a brand ambassador for European specialty coffee companies in Europe. She loves learning new things and sharing her passions for food, coffee and design with others.
John was born in 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. At Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota) he majored in English and German literatures, graduating in 1974. An offer to teach English for Panasonic brought him to Kansai, where he settled in Kyoto in 1977. Soon after arriving, he started studying Japanese at the Kyoto Nihongo Gakko, and, in 1979, he took up Nihon Buyo (classical Japanese dance) under the tutelage of WAKAYAGI Kimiha. (Kimiha-sensei died in 2015, and in 2019, John resumed his dance study with WAKAYAGI Shuho.) In addition to dancing, writing and editing have also kept him busy. For three years he served as editor of the “Kyoto Visitor’s Guide”. As a freelance writer, he has contributed articles to The Japan Times, Asahi Evening News, and the Japan National Tourist Organization’s website. He also authored the Kyoto chapter of EYEWITNESS: JAPAN (Eyewitness Travel Guides, Dorling Kindersley publisher, 2000). Interests include sumie, Kyoto food culture, the Thai language, and travel (especially to Southeast Asia). Although happily mired in the Kyoto milieu, he is grateful that Osaka is only a 45-minute train ride away.
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