July 19, 2015
Yuri from Washoku Lovers invited us to watch and be amazing by the experienced cooking of Chef Raita Noda. This experience was felt like it came straight out of MasterChef (MasterClass). You can so imagine what an eyeopener and experience cooking alongside a chef like Raita Noda in the kitchen was for both of us. 

Raita Noda Former executive chef at Ocean room, recently opened Raita Noda Chef’s Kitchen (where the seats are booked out several months ahead). 
If you would like to read more about Raita Noda, click here

This cooking class was held at the Sydney Seafood School. Don't worry, there's no fishy smell inside! Yes that's something I was worrying about because Matt is not a seafood fan. Although he's getting better! If you attend any day sessions, you will see a picturesque view from the dining room. 
Something really cool (I thought) was that each area was sectioned out i.e. you would start off with the demonstration area (above), then make your way to the kitchen (behind the closed doors) and finally hide away in private setting at the dining room.

Anyway let's get started!

Upon arrival you are greeted with the ever so lovely people from Washoku Lovers. They would provide you with an apron and Tanabata (where you can write a wish and hang it on a bamboo tree). We wished that everyone has a full belly by the end of the night :)

Each participant was greeted with a Choya Sparkling (drink recipe found here) 
We had the classic Choya fruit liquer with umeshu (plum). Yes, it was sweet and a great way to start the evening. We were skeptical to eat the choya as we had no idea what it was at that time!

Look at all that fresh produce....
The Wagyu beef is amazing and well worth the price point of $150 a kilo!!!

Chef Raita Noda demonstrated how to cook Osawa Wagyu Sukiyaki (recipe link below), and his own signature seafood dishes. He also showed us a method of washing rice. Yes, you read right. It's pretty usual in asian households to wash rice but I've never been exposed to this method of refining white rice!

I wash my rice until the water turns clear (was taught from my parents). But that's not the case!
The rice needs to be gently massaged, rinse and repeat for about 3 - 4 times. I was thinking to myself.. it's just rice right? How can washing it, massaging it and repeating the process make the rice taste different? THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!!! 
The rice tasted firmer and less gluggy... it's so hard to describe. 
Try it for yourself!

Raita’s Original Wagyu Sukiyaki
Seeing that we cooked what we ate, I think it tasted pretty good. But I'm sure my opinion will change once I taste Chef Raita's cooking. What brings the dish together is definitely that delicious sukyaki sauce, and of course the love and effort Matt put into rolling and cooking it. =P
Matt tried making this over the weekend and it was a success! Very easy to follow :) 
You can make it yourself. 
Recipe can be found here

The flames were turned up quite high at the event. Literally. 
We even had a guest appearance fro the fire department who made it in great timing once the fire alarm was accidentally set off. 

Table Smoked Zuke Marinated Blue Fin Tuna Sashimi
This was the spotlight of the night. The flames and smoke made our experience from 'WOW' to 'WOW FREAKING AMAZING' It's such an privilege to witness this style of cooking. 
Want to test this out yourself? 
Recipe can be found here

And finally, we have the traditional wagyu sukiyaki. This perfect warm hearty soup would be ideal right now. Go on, warm yourself up. 
Here's the recipe for you
Now it's our turn to cook! Good joke (some of our friends would say). My first experience of cooking without guidance ended up with a burnt chicken wing (still raw inside). So yes, I was damn nervous cooking in a group. BUT MATT WAS HERE TO SAVE THE DAY. 
Clearly we know who the better cook is in the relationship.

Below we took some shots of us making Raita's Original Wagyu Sukiyaki.

Matt's rolling the rice and inside-out style with nori and kinoko gohan. Remember to wet your hands when dealing with rice, or you will end up with more rice on your hands then on the seaweed!

Once Matt completed rolling the rice, I wrapped the roll with wagyu slices and off we went to the hot plate (see, I helped).

Sizzle away lovely wagyu rolls....mmmmm

Next up is the quail station. Have you ever tried to break an uncooked quail egg? There's a special quail egg scissors that you can buy (great way to avoid wasting a quail egg). 

We were amazed when we found out that you could tempura quail eggs! Who would think that it would work so perfectly? These little additions were AMAZING and worked perfectly with the wagyu sakiyaki!

We had assistance from Chef Raita himself with the Table Smoked Zuke Marinated Blue Fin Tuna Sashimi dish. Whenever in doubt, leave it the the professional!

After cooking our meal, we proceeded to the next room. 
The dining room

The night finished off with Sake master Andre Bishop. We had a fun night, watching, cooking and enjoying our meal and experience at Washoku Lovers Kitchen.

This clam soup was so clear and yet it was packed with flavour. 
You didn't even have to eat the clams to enjoy this soup. 
You would be glad to know that the recipe can be found here!

Finally we finished off with dessert (everything has to finish with dessert right?) 
Kochi Yuzu Granita With Yuzu Gelée Kochi Yuzu Juice
Bursting with flavours from every member of the citrus family you can think of. It is a little bowl of happiness! We had no idea what we were eating at this point, but all we knew was that we enjoyed it.

We even got to take home our own Omiyage Gift Bag which included Osawa Wagyu Sukiyaki Beef (500g), Kikkoman Sukiyaki Sauce and a Choya classic umeshu. 
Boy... we are getting spoiled by Yuri!!

Thank you again Yuri for inviting us to attend this event. 
Yuri's passion to share with everyone the Japanese Food Culture is admiring and inspirational. 

Have you heard of Washoku Lovers before? Do you love Japanese food? There's a high chance that you already dined at one of Washoku Lover's partnered restaurants. 
There's great benefits so don't forget to check it out and get your membership card!

Take care everyone and stay warm!