Despite a fairly cool May this year, on the 17th it truly seemed like the first day of summer. In Northern Manhattan, the streets were hopping and music filled the air. It’s not often that you find Japanese food uptown, but on that day in a classroom on 158th Street, middle and high schoolers were learning about Japanese food and food education. The Wa-Shokuiku Project had launched in New York! This new initiative is a unique food education class by TABLE FOR TWO USA, with classes taking place in New York, Boston, and Washington DC. I serve as the Program Coordinator and the New York liaison. As an uptown resident, I advocated for classes in my neighborhood because you don’t find Asian cuisine much uptown, especially Japanese food. This is a wonderful opportunity to share this culture! For many of the students at Community Health Academy of the Heights (CHAH), this was their first time making Japanese food and working with ingredients such as seaweed.
The Wa-Shokuiku Project is fueled by the passion for Japanese cuisine (washoku) and Japanese food education (shokuiku). Students not only learn how to make healthy dishes, but the aesthetics, manners, and appreciation of labor and production necessary to create a meal and food environment. TABLE FOR TWO strives to make this initiative more than just a cooking class – but an opportunity to equip students with practical knowledge and skills regarding healthy eating, Japanese foodways, and best practices.
The project will officially launch in autumn, but will continue pilot classes throughout the spring. Meanwhile, you can follow them on Facebook (via TABLE FOR TWO) and check out their beautiful new website. You may notice a familiar face or two! Boston University Professor Merry White serves as academic consultant and Gohan Society super volunteer and regular newsletter contributor Joshua Schlachet is the NYC instructor! Keep an eye on their website and Facebook for the latest updates. Meanwhile, we at Gohan Society are delighted by this new initiative!
Alexis Agliano Sanborn is one of The Gohan Society’s super volunteers. She has lived in Nagoya, Tokyo, and rural Shimane Prefecture as a student, intern, and working professional. She received her Bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies and Japanese from UC Santa Barbara and her Master’s degree from Harvard University in Regional Studies of East Asia.
She is working on a proposal for a school lunch-themed cookbook, a recipe blog (kabocha-kitchen.com), as well as illustration and stationery designs. Find out more at www.alexisaglianosanborn.com.