When visiting the big smoke, food tours of London are high on everyone’s priority list. You want to taste the city’s best flavours, smell their finest aromas and have their food melt in your mouth. One cuisine that is well acclaimed in London is Japanese food, with some of the cities most prestigious and eclectic restaurants taking inspiration from Japan. Whether it is a fusion, or learning the basics from sushi to ramen, katsu to sake, London has a little piece of Japan waiting for you in these Japanese cooking classes.
1. School of Wok
The School of Wok has the monopoly on Asian food in London, given that it was awarded a prize for being the best European Asian cookery school. They offer two courses in Japanese cooking specifically, as well as a sushi class, which will not only teach you the basics of the food but also the cultural significance of it.
Your first option is Japanese Cuisine, which is a general crash course in all things prolific within this food spectrum. It is three hours long, but you leave feeling as if you have been a part of food tours in London, destination Japan.
The second option is to attend the Full Day Japanese Cuisine class. It is similar in content to Japanese Cuisine but longer in duration and more thorough in execution. You will learn all the favourites, and soon find yourself able to whip up a katsu curry for your family at the drop of a hat.
Contact: 020 7240 8818
Address: 61 Chandos Pl, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HG
2. Atsuko’s Kitchen
Atsuko’s Kitchen’s mantra is: Japanese cooking made simple. This could not be a more accurate description about the wonderful outlook and output of this specialist cookery school. Each lesson is very hands-on – groups are small to ensure teachers have the opportunity to really focus on your development in the kitchen. All their courses are within the realms of Japanese cuisine, and you have the option to either choose a general, all-encompassing class, or one of these classes specialising in different dishes. The best of the general courses, for newbies, is the Beginners Japanese Cuisine class.
The Okonomiyaki class is often sold out, because it is such a popular choice at Atsuko’s Kitchen – so make sure you get your bookings in early! This well-loved pancake-like staple of Japanese cuisine is something everyone should be able to whip up from the comfort of their kitchens, and this course shows the possibility of that. There is of course a sushi-making class, honing in on flavours, technique and creativity – they also offer a specialised vegetarian sushi-making class, for those looking for a fish alternative. A real crowd-pleaser is the gyoza class, which are an absolute treat to be able to make at home and wow your dinner guests – as well as a frankly delectable afternoon snack, too! The sky’s the limit! There is a bento cooking class, showing you how to make five different fillers for your box. Finally, they run a tofu cooking class, which is essential in the process of showing people that tofu does not have to be flavourless or inedible like it sometimes is depicted as – it is all about cooking it properly.
Contact: 07921 397792
Address: 35 Charlotte Rd, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PB
3. Sozai Cooking School
Sozai Cooking School are specialists in Japanese cooking classes, and cover all the basics (as well as the specifics!) The school is also available for private hire, so if you have a group, party or even business who are looking to sharpen not only their knives but their cooking skills, then make sure you book in a session.
Have you even done a Japanese cooking class if you don’t learn about ramen? Well, Sozai go all-in with this dish and make sure you are able to cook everything from soy broth to soft noodles. It is taught by Japanese chef, presenter and culinary instructor, Akemi Yokoyama.
You will struggle to find a Japanese course that doesn’t include a sushi option. This is quite common. However, Sozai offer a unique and insanely useful course called Fish to Sushi. Basically, its main focus is teaching you the knife skills and techniques necessary to successfully fillet a fish for your sushi. While some places skip this step and simply provide you with the fish, ready for rolling, Sozai make sure you know the whole process so you can make the freshest sushi possible from your own kitchen.
Contact: 020 7458 4567
Address: 5 Middlesex St, Spitalfields, London E1 7AA
4. Cookery School at Little Portland Street
This cookery school is so valuable to the London food scene, offering food tours from London to Thailand, Italy and the Middle East from Little Portland Street. All-encompassing yet focused on the specifics of each and every cuisine on offer, this school really hits the nail on the head across the board. Specifically, its Japanese sushi-making course.
The variety of sushi made in this reasonably short amount of time has to be the most impressive part. You will learn to make Chirashi-zushi (scattered sushi), Futo-maki (thick roll sushi), Te-maki-zushi (hand roll sushi), Hoso-maki (thin roll sushi) and Ura-maki (inside out roll). All the ingredients are provided, as well as being sustainably sourced and prepared. You will be taught not only how to roll and season the sushi, but also how to fillet the fish and how to shape sushi differently. You will walk out of here an expert – or at least with the motivation to practice until you are one.
Contact: 020 7631 4590
Address: 15 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London W1W 8BW
There you have it – four of the best places to get under the skin of Japanese cooking. While sushi-making classes are easy to locate and scattered across the city, specialist courses such as these that really delve into the cuisine are a real hidden gem. Taste your way around Japan from the comfort of these cooking schools and then take the skills home with you, transporting the cuisine wherever you venture.