Posts tagged Chef

Washoku Lover’s Kitchen with Raita Noda!

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Chef Raita Demonstrating how to make his version of sukiyaki

I love classes. I love Japanese food. Put me into a Japanese cooking class where I’m fed by one of Sydney’s renowned Japanese chefs? YES PLEASE.

Chef Raita Noda is the chef in the spotlight of the very first Washoku Lovers’ kitchen, which is aimed at bringing authentic Japanese food and culture into the homes of Australians, one dish at a time. Today, it’s Sukiyaki – a Japanese hotpot synonymous with home cooking and tradition, showcasing amazing wagyu beef.

So in words of Chairman Kaga:


Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Chef Raita Noda teaching the class how to wash Japanese rice

It all begins with the rice. Maybe it’s my Asian bias, but rice truly is a difficult ingredient to master. From the handling, to the washing, to the cooking, to the resting, Japanese apprentices can spend years only learning how to wash rice without doing any other cooking.

The secret, Chef Raita tells us, is that rice should not be washed too vigorously. You know what they tell you about washing till the water runs clear? LIES. ALL LIES I TELL YOU. You’re meant to quickly rice the rice, drain it, then massage it gently for a couple of minutes before rinsing it again. Repeat this process three times, and you’re ready to cook the rice.

Now Sukiyaki traditionally is served as a hotpot, but not content with the status quo, Chef Raita shows us how to bring it into the present by making a Sukiyaki roll!

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: shaping the rice and nori roll with a sushi mat.

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Chef Raita rolling up his version of sukiyaki

This roll is then seared, sliced, and served with a salad of julienned leek, spring onion and green chrysanthemum leaves, to mimic the mix of vegetables in the hotpot.

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: New Style Sukiyaki

And what’s a main without an entree to start?

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Smoked Marinated Tuna with Yuzu Kosho

We had heaps of fun quick-smoking slices of marinated tuna under stemless wineglasses, werking it like only Heston can.

Because you gotta use them skills to pay those bills, gurl.

The class was really informative, and Chef Raita was so endearing in his nervousness and blinged up chef’s jacket. And you know what, I walked away and made my own version of the traditional sukiyaki hotpot for dinner, so the class did what it set out to do!

Washoku Lovers is a free membership programme that gives you perks to many Japanese restaurants in Sydney! We also have visited other restaurants participating in the Washoku Lovers programme, like Suminoya and Oiden! To find out more about the programme and sign up, visit

Insatiable Munchies attended this Washoku Lovers’ cooking class as guests of Washoku Lovers.
Raita Noda
1/222 Riley Street,
Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: 02 8093 9807

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March into the Coogee Foreshore Festival!


If Jordan Toft wasn’t going to be a chef, he would have been in drama, admits the executive chef of the Coogee Pavilion, somewhat sheepishly. “Not Drama as in Beverly Hills Housewives drama, but drama as in high school Drama. It was a big part of my life.” And it’s this eye for drama that has helped him shape the dining experience of Merivale’s newest addition, located right by the roaring waves of Coogee beach.

Merivale certainly is known for their complete experiences, curating restaurants with very distinct personalities and food to match, in order to transport you into a different world. The Coogee Pavilion boasts a three story building – with a dedicated raw bar and oyster counter – and the vision is to create an environment where dining and the beach merges into one relaxed balmy day in the sunshine.


Jordan comes back to Merivale – he previously worked at Est – after a long stint in America and Europe. He says that Europe really opened his eyes up to the beauty of the seasons, and how that affects the produce. “I started going to the markets and it was the first time I saw real seasonal changes. And that has transposed to what my real ethos is now. And that’s not just the food, but the story behind it.”

It then goes from the produce, to the menu, even before he heats up a pan. This is really where the experience shows, because to Jordan it’s very important to consider how the menu reads to the customer who is making their choice for dinner. “You might be able to cook something beautiful, but if it’s not interpreted to the customer properly on the menu, then it’s never going to get ordered”.


So what’s going to be on the menu for the Coogee Foreshore Festival? Cuttlefish with with chilli, garlic, and lemon, and Hot roasted leg ham with salt and white pepper crackling and a soft bun are just a couple of what the Coogee Pavilion will be serving up, alongside some of Merivale’s brightest chefs in this two-day bustling one stop shop for foodies.


I can’t wait to see the Coogee Pavilion transformed into a marketplace (with jugglers and stilt walkers oh my!), and with chefs like Jordan behind the pass, I know I’ll be in good hands. If you’d like to book tickets to the festival ($45 will get you 8 tokens for food and drink), you can pop over to the March into Merivale website, where you can also find the full menu.