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Ten weeks, eight regions, and a whole lot of eating – exploring Japanese cuisine

Image credit: Celia Plender

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In the spring of 2016, Celia Plender, the recipient of the Asia House 2015 Yan-kit So Memorial Award for Food Writers on Asia, spent 10 weeks travelling the length of Japan to research regional Japanese food using the travel bursary she had been awarded.

From the oldest okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka to the highest tea plantation in the country, she had the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. Thanks to the generous hospitality of the home cooks, chefs, producers and food experts she met along the way, she gained many insights into Japanese food and culture, which she hopes to use to compile a regional Japanese cookbook.

In this unique talk at Asia House, Celia will share some of her stories, photos and recipes from the trip.

The talk will be followed by a drinks reception and a food tasting prepared from Celia’s recipes. This event is generously sponsored by Paul Bloomfield Ltd, Paul Bloomfield’s catering company.


Pictured is one the tea farms in Shizuoka, a Japanese prefecture on central Honshu’s Pacific coast. Shizuoka is the biggest green tea producer in Japan, accounting for 40 per cent of the country’s overall tea production.

Celia has written an article for the Asia House website about her fascinating trip. You can read it here.

Celia Plender is a London-based food writer, former chef and current doctoral student in anthropology at SOAS, University of London. She first became interested in Japanese culture and cuisine at a young age.

Working as a chef in a London sushi restaurant in the 2000s rekindled her curiosity for Japanese food. By 2006 she had moved to Japan where she worked as an English teacher and part-time chef in a traditional Japanese restaurant. Since her return she has written extensively about Japanese food for publications including Time Out and Eat Japan and taught numerous cookery workshops. Returning to Japan 10  years later, with the generous support of the Yan-kit So Award, has given her the chance to deepen her knowledge of Japanese cooking and culture.

The Yan-kit So Memorial Award for Food Writers on Asia was established in 2006 to assist first-time cookery writers who are interested in writing about Asian cuisine.  The Award provides a bursary to support travel and research expenses during the time when a proposal is being written and before a publishing contract has been awarded. This award is offered in memory of Yan-kit So (1933-2001), Britain’s leading authority on Chinese cuisine. If you are interested in participating, please get in touch: YKSAward@gmail.com

To book tickets for this event click here.


November 16, 2016
18:45 - 20:30
Event Category:


Asia House


Asia House
63 New Cavendish St, London, Gt Lon W1G 7LP United Kingdom

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