Inspired by co-owners Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel’s recent trip to Japan, SHED celebrates the culture, food, artistry, and heritage of that island nation during the month of October in Healdsburg.
Here at SHED we’re familiar with showcasing Japanese culinary traditions, having hosted many workshops on buckwheat soba noodle preparation, bento box foods, earthenware cookery, and fermentation methods unique to Asia in our educational slate. But never before has an entire month’s worth of workshops, meals, demonstrations, and receptions been entirely devoted just to the foods and traditions of one country.
It’s fair to say that it all began with grain. In working to find local farmers who grow grain and are committed to sustainability, Cindy was fortunate to meet Sonoko Sakai, a chef, author, teacher, and area grain activist. A budding interest in Japanese cooking bloomed into a passion for the SHED team as Sonoko has regularly led Grange classes in the cooking traditions of her birth country, with a particular focus on hand-made soba noodles.
The founder of Common Grains, Sonoko will be a regular face in our October slate as she leads many workshops and activities all the month long. But we’re too excited to wait. So we’re starting the slate in September with cookbook author Nancy Singleton Hachisu, whose new book teaches us how to preserve the season’s harvest the Japanese way.
In our Healdsburg store, you’ll find foods, housewares, and tools with which you might be unfamiliar. Cindy and Doug’s recent Japan trip resulted in a wealth of new items for our tables and shelves, and part of our events planning has been to emphasize educating all of us more fully. We’re learning upstairs, we’re learning downstairs — and we’re eating well all the way through!
Our cafe will have many special soba dishes and surprises as well.
Here’s what’s planned for our calendar. Be sure to check as the month approaches as we’re certain to be adding more events. We hope that you can join us at least once to learn about and celebrate Japan!
Thursday, Sept. 24: Preserving the Japanese Way. In honor of her newly released second book, Preserving the Japanese Way, we welcome Nancy Singleton Hachisu for a special author dinner. Featuring a barrel maker, fish sauce producer, artisanal vinegar company, 200 hundred-year-old sake producer, and traditional pickle markets, Preserving the Japanese Way is a book about community and seasonality — and why they remain so relevant in our lives today. Nancy will discuss the people and traditions she came to know while researching and writing, and then we’ll sit down to enjoy a meal made from the recipes she collected. 6:30pm; $60-$80.
Sunday, Oct. 4: Dashi and the Japanese Pantry. Dashi, a versatile and umami-rich stock made from dried vegetables, kombu, and dried bonito fish (katsuobushi), is a foundational element of Japanese cookery. Join Sonoko Sakai and dashi maestro Mamiko Nishiyama — owner of Yagicho Honten, a 270-year-old dashi shop in Tokyo — to learn how to incorporate dashi and other essentials from the Japanese pantry into your home kitchen. This hands-on cooking workshop ends with a shared lunch. 10am; $100.
Saturday, Oct. 10: Soba-making workshop and meal. Sonoko Sakai is joined by soba master Toshiya Kotorii in this hands-on afternoon workshop in which attendees will learn how to make their own soba noodles from freshly-milled wheat and buckwheat flour and the simple methods needed to create a fresh, nourishing meal. A light dinner of soba prepared two ways as well as dessert ends the evening. Attendees will leave with their own batch of fresh noodles to cook at home. 4pm; $100.
Sunday, Oct. 11
Handmade Kokedama Workshop: Japanese artistry is by no means relegated to the kitchen and this training by instructor Cathrina Susoev on making your own moss ball (kokedama) air plants marries sculpture with horticulture. Very similar to bonsai, the plant and roots of a kokedama are contained in a small space. Its form and preparation represents the wabi-sabi aesthetic principle of imperfect beauty. All supplies are included. $55.
Hoshigaki Workshop: Sonoko Sakai teaches us to beautifully and deliciously preserve the coming persimmon harvest in the ancient Japanese hoshigaki tradition, in which the fruit is massaged and whole-dried in open air. A lengthy 40-day process, hoshigaki results in a magnificent dried fruit glittering with sugar crystals on the outside with a depth of persimmon flavor on the inside. Hoshigaki are a rare and beautiful delicacy that make an ideal handmade gift. If you have a persimmon tree (or know someone who does), this is a class for you! Persimmons and drying sticks will be provided. $65.
Saturday, Oct. 17: Bento box with fermented foods. Chef Mariko Grady, founder of Aedan SF, and Robin Koda, a third generation Japanese-Californian rice grower from Koda Farms, co-present this workshop on creating such traditional fermented foods as miso, shio koji, and sagahachi. Learn about bento box preparations and how to make simple lunch items. Then, sit down and enjoy them! 10am; $75.
Sunday, Oct. 18: Ceramicist Shiro Otani demonstration and reception. Master ceramicist Shiro Otani hails from a village with an 800-year pottery tradition. Here in the U.S. to lead a wood-firing workshop at renowned artist Richard Carter’s Napa studio, Shiro comes to SHED during his residency for a live demonstration with his wheel and a slideshow discussion of his work. A reception follows. This is perhaps the only chance to meet Shiro in the U.S. outside of Richard Carter’s artist-in-residency program. His work will be available for purchase. 2pm; $30.
Monday, Oct. 19: Ramen and ‘Tampopo.’ See the beloved 1985 Japanese comedy Tampopo (a so-called ‘ramen western’) and slurp ramen prepared by Sebastopol’s wildly popular Ramin Gaijin restaurant. The evening’s price includes the film, a bowl of ramen, a Japanese salad, and furikake seasoned popcorn during the show. 6pm (film at 8pm); $42.
Sunday, Oct. 25: Donabe Dinner Party. Chef Kyle McConnaughton, whose own Single Thread restaurant is due to open in Healdsburg in early 2016, celebrates the release of his new book, Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking, with a very special hands-on dinner. Donabe are clay cooking pots from Iga, Japan, where tiny fossils in the area’s clay lend a special surface quality to the stoneware, allowing for more convection. A student of Japanese farming and cooking and a veteran of England’s The Fat Duck restaurant, Kyle will lead attendees through a series of dishes that utilize donabe to steam, smoke, and poach foods. Essentially a master class, we can only accommodate 20 guests to this evening as they will be working directly with the chef to make the most of this extraordinary cookery equipment. A communal meal ends this unique evening. 5pm; $175.
Monday, Oct. 26: Enough 十分な. Join us for a day of mindfulness through everyday activity inspired and informed by the Soto Zen tradition. Throughout our store, we host talks, interactive events, and a kids’ area. Join us for some of the events, or just come in and soak up the spirit of compassion and peace. Slow down. Take a breath. Be here. All day; free.