Learn to Cook Modern Asian Dishes with Takashi Yagihashi

What makes Macy's demos different is the time and care each chef takes to inform their guests

Macy's Culinary Council

Japanese food is much more than just ramen, sushi and sake

If you want to find out how accepted a new cuisine is in American culture, scour the shelves of the grocery store chains. In cities large and small, a glance at the bread section reveals rows of Greek and Middle Eastern-style pita, flatbreads from Afghanistan and Turkey, and black breads from Russia, Scandinavia, and Germany.

In the deli section, you’re just as likely to find rows of small rainbow colored glassine packets of sushi as you are garlicky Kosher pickles and Genoa salami. The mainstreaming of sushi took a while and at the forefront of this culinary conversion was Japanese born master chef Takashi Yagihashi. With the opening of Takashi Restaurant, and then later Takashi Noodles and The Slurping Turtle, he joined a select group of chefs that made it their mission to bring modern Asian food, infused with a range of cultural and culinary influences, to cities across the United States.

His cooking introduced American diners to a world of new flavors, textures, and dishes and we were happy to join the taste trek. As a member of the Macy’s Culinary Council, he has joined an elite group of chefs dedicated to improving family meals by encouraging people cook more at home. The members include celebrated chefs like Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, Cat Cora, and Tom Douglas and throughout 2016 they are reaching out to cooks across America by offering cooking demonstrations in-store presented the Macy’s Culinary Council.

Macy’s Culinary Council

What makes Macy’s demos different is the time and care each chef takes to inform their guests. As culinary ambassadors, they offer cooking advice, keep consumers up-to-date on the latest food trends, and teach home cooks how to prepare their recipes without too much fuss or muss. The object is to show people how to cook like a chef at home and help them choose the right equipment to get the job done. Having the entire Macy’s cookware selection to choose from means shoppers not only find the best quality but at a price that’s affordable. The chance to learn how each chef cooks his or her special recipes, and then sampling the prepared dishes, is just part of the fun and makes each in-store demonstration a memorable experience.

Spring 2016 Macy’s Culinary Council Cooking Demonstration at Union Square in San Francisco, California on May 21

Japanese food is much more than just ramen, sushi and sake, and if you have never tasted authentic Asian food prepared by a master chef like Takashi Yagihashi, you won’t be able to eat the other stuff every again. A native of Japan, Takashi made his mark on the Chicago culinary scene early on and from the first year of its opening his eponymous Takashi Restaurant was applauded by consumers and critics.

As a chef and restaurant owner, Takashi Yagihashi is no stranger to important awards and accolades and in 2003 he won “Best Chef in the Midwest from the James Beard Foundation”; in 2008 Esquire and Chicago magazines named Takashi “The Best New Restaurant of 2008;" and in 2010 Takashi Restaurant won a Michelin star from the Michelin Guide Chicago, 2010. He is also the author of the cookbook, Takashi’s Noodles.

In 2011 Takashi opened Slurping Turtle, a tapas and noodle bar in Chicago. His authentic ramen concept, Tabo Noodles by Takashi, can be found at Macy's on State Street in Chicago as well as in Chef Street at Macy’s Herald Square in New York.

What’s on the Menu

Takashi Yagihashi is well known for his inventive fusion dishes that blend classic Japanese ingredients with ingredients from other cultures. For his demonstration on May 21, he has chosen to cook dishes he feels are great examples of his fusion cuisine and classic Japanese home cooking. Lucky guests will learn how to prepare, and then get to taste, a prosciutto-shrimp spring roll; crispy tacos with soy-caramel braised pork; somen noodles; and for a final sweet ending dorayaki pancakes.

Cook like a Chef with Easy Recipes

Takashi chose to demonstrate these dishes because he loves cooking Japanese home style dishes and because Japanese home food “is my soul food.” Many of the dishes served at his restaurant The Slurping Turtle, like the fried chicken and shrimp shumai, often end up in his cookbooks and he doesn’t see any difference between what he cooks at home or in his commercial kitchen.

A Distinct Culinary Point of View

Takashi Yagihashi want consumers to know that his cooking blends influences from Asian and American cuisines and that his recipes are always easy to make at home and always feature fresh, seasonal ingredients found in most local grocery stores. For example, “My duck fat fried chicken has both American and Asian influences. The fried chicken is the American part and the soy marinade is definitely Asian.”

He incorporates different traditions from both cultures and says, “I love street food - American and Japanese.  We serve street food at Slurping Turtle with both American and Asian ingredients and this is food that is easy for home cooks to prepare.” Chef Yagihashi thinks anyone can learn to cook and feels his “seared scallops with soba gnocchi, celery root, and parmesan foam reflect his distinct cooking style.”

Cook at Home Like a Chef

For those that want to incorporate Asian and American fusion dishes into their regular menus, Takashi recommends you “use common Asian ingredients like soy and miso and combine them with American ingredients like cheese, olive oil, and butter.

After many years working as a chef and inventing dishes that marry the cuisines of East and West, chef Yagihashi’s favorite dish to eat that’s also easy to cook is just about anything made with noodles. He thinks American cooks can find the motivation to cook at home more often if they focus on “healthy, easy to acquire ingredients that are also easy to prepare.” And invest in one or two versatile pieces of equipment like a “clay pot—a deep one for winter dishes with broth and a shallow one for all seasons.”

Event Details and Special Offers

Date: May21, 2016

Time: 1:00PM

Venue: Macy’s Union Square - San Francisco, California

Location: Cellar Kitchen, Lower Level

Price per person: Free

Join Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Takashi Yagihashi as we celebrate American Icons with some of his favorite award-winning dishes! The best part? There will be plenty of scrumptious samples to enjoy! After the demonstration, stick around and explore the latest in cookware and gadgets for your kitchen. Plus, with any purchase of $35* or more in the Home department, receive a special music gift and a copy of Takashi's Noodles, which he will sign for you! RSVP and receive a $10 Macy’s gift card** at the event: macysusqmcctakashi.eventbrite.com.

Learn more about the Culinary Council and upcoming events by logging on to macys.com/culinarycouncil and follow us on Twitter @culinarycouncil.

Event subject to cancellation or change. Seating is first come, first served. *Purchase must be made on 5/21/16 at Macy’s Union Square only. **Special gift and cookbook distributed on 5/21/16 at event. One per customer, while supplies last and time permits. Gift card valid 5/21/16-5/28/16 only.
For more Washington DC dining and travel news, click here. Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor and a food, drink and travel writer at The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva and Instagram at thefoodandwinediva. Read more of her stories here

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