Reiko not only teaches in the UK – her friendly teaching style, contemporary approach to authentic Japanese cooking , and her passion for fresh ingredients and true Japanese flavours, have influenced the cooking of students across Europe.
To Reiko, of all the European cuisines, Italian cuisine is the most similar to Japanese: both use simple flavour combinations and short cooking times to create delicious dishes which emphasise the richness of high quality, fresh ingredients. For this reason, Italy is one of Reiko’s favourite places to teach Japanese food outside of the UK and having taught in Puglia for two years, Reiko is now teaching four-day courses in the Veneto, Northern Italy.
This Japanese food experience in the Italian sun takes place in partnership with Stirred, at Villa Casagrande, a luxury 15th-century villa with the foothills of the Dolomites as its backdrop. Steeped in history, Villa Casagrande is surrounded by elegant walled gardens, orchards and carefully manicured rose gardens, with a 30-foot swimming pool which offers the perfect way to build up an appetite for an al fresco dinner.
Inside the walls of the villa are seven spacious bedrooms adorned with antique furniture, ornate dining and reception rooms, and of course a state-of-the-art kitchen. Vast and airy with polished stone floors, oak-beamed ceilings and a Venetian fireplace, the kitchen opens directly onto the grounds of the villa, offering a cooling breeze; it is here that Reiko will be teaching hands-on cookery classes using seasonal regional produce.
Over the course of four days, visitors will take part in daily cookery classes with Reiko and explore both the stunning local area of the Veneto, famous for its rich, robust flavours and globally-renowned wine, and travel to Venice, home to incredible seafood. Activities will include prosecco tasting with the Valdobbiadene winery, a day trip to Venice to explore the Rialto fish market and take a private boat ride to Mazzorbo to taste Venissa, a wine made from an ancient grape variety, which is grown exclusively on the island. As well as buying local ingredients to prepare with Reiko, visitors will dine at highly acclaimed restaurants in Venice and local Trattorias in Cison di Valmarino, home to Villa Casagrande and voted one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The cost of the trip includes all food, wine, accommodation, restaurant visits, trips, tours,tastings and transfers to and from Venice Marco Polo Airport at a pre-arranged time.