The CIA, in collaboration with Suntory Group, one of the world's leading consumer product companies, launched the second year of its Advanced Cooking: Japanese Cuisine course with a trip to Japan for students just before the start of the semester. The 10-day culinary tour let them experience Japanese cuisine firsthand and set the tone for what the students then studied back on campus.
Students and CIA faculty traveled to Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kyoto, and Osaka to learn about topics ranging from soba and sushi to kamameshi, okonomiyaki, kaiseki, and more. The itinerary included visits to rice fields grown for vinegar production, wagyu beef and bamboo shoot farms, the Tsuji Culinary Institute, and the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery.
Once back in the U.S., students began their Japanese Cuisine course—an innovative immersion into the cuisines, flavors, techniques, and food culture of Japan. It is jointly taught by CIA Assistant Professor Martin Matysik and Hiroki Murashima of the world-renowned Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka. Chef Murashima also holds the position of Suntory Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at the CIA.
The curriculum guides students through Japanese history, culture, and principles of authentic Japanese cooking as they explore rice and noodles, sushi, tempura, the principles of umami, and the cultural aspects of the Japanese dining table. Students also learn the art of preparing kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal that is highly seasonal, balanced, and evocative of Japanese sensibilities of beauty and hospitality.
As Japan's rich culinary traditions, techniques, and dishes increasingly become focal points of exploration for young chefs pursuing advanced culinary arts, the course serves as the first phase of a broader Japanese studies initiative at the CIA.