Hello, my name is Sonoko Sakai and I am a writer, teacher, and cook based in California.
The essence of my very being is rooted in my Japanese heritage—my name means “garden.” My cooking reflects my rich cultural upbringing as I lived in many places as a child. I was born in New York and moved to many cities including San Francisco, Kamakura, Mexico City, and Tokyo.
I grew up around some very talented home cooks, primarily my mother and grandmother, but even my older brother was one of my teachers, showing me how to make his excellent okonomiyaki and yakisoba. I've been passionate about food for as long as I can remember, and have been teaching Japanese home cooking for over a decade, but I was cooking and writing about food long before that.
My first cookbook was published in 1986 by Clarkson Potter. Then, during the early 2000s I traveled to Japan to study under a Soba noodle master and participate in an intensive multi-month noodle-making course. I came back with an even deeper understanding of this craft I loved so much. Now, I make everything from soba to miso, and beyond from scratch in my kitchen studio, and often host classes here too, to share all the knowledge that was given to me.
I am the author of Japanese Home Cooking: Simple Meals, Authentic Flavors (IACP 2020 award winner), and I have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and many more for my dedicated work as a cook, storyteller, and food activist.
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