About the Instructor: Alex Dakers
I am a chef and restaurant manager with 13 years in the food and beverage industry. I am also the descendant of my Japanese immigrant grandmother, Mieko.
In 2018, I had the opportunity to live and work in Japan, in the small city of Kumamoto. As I ate and drank and karaoke’d my way through the city for three months, I felt a deep nostalgia for certain smells, flavors, and cultural behaviors. I often couldn’t pinpoint an exact memory that each new experience was tied to; there just seemed to be a common thread that came from deep inside me that tied me to a place I had never been to before, and that my grandmother had left over 50 years prior. The permanence of this inherited cultural essence, despite being thousands of miles and three generations removed from the original source, is what has driven me to create Yabai Nikkei, a concept that celebrates the ways that the Japanese diaspora has maintained, manipulated, and, sometimes, rejected the social and culinary traditions of Japan and other countries.I have been eating Japanese food since before I could remember, and have tasted innumerable interpretations in Peru, France, Canada, and the USA.
At its worst, Japanese food outside Japan (or inside Japan, for that matter) is a bastardized version of a popular traditional preparation. Like a bad photocopy of Van Gogh’s starry night, all nuance and sense of place is gone; all your left with is syrupy teriyaki over dry chicken and mushy rice. Self-declared “fusion” or “pan-Asian” establishments can be just as bad, where they haphazardly smash together buzzword ingredients and dishes onto giant menus with no regard for seasonality or coherence.
But, when done well, traditional Japanese flavors, techniques, and culinary philosophies can sing in harmony with those of other regions to create delicious flavors that speak to the movement of people and cultures over space and time.
Class will be held in an open, outdoor kitchen. Please arrive to class with your mask on. Necessary precautions will be in place to ensure appropriate social distancing. Tables will be distanced from each other and all participants will wear their masks except for when dining.
Participants are encouraged to register in groups of two or more. Please indicate in the notes of your order if you will be taking this class with a friend or family member who you can share a table with.
Date: May 23, 2021
Start time: 11:00 a.m.
End time: 02:30 p.m.
Venue: Long Table Farm – 89242 Fir Butte Rd, Eugene, OR 97402