Cooking with Teru

Cooking with Japanese Chef Teru

Sakana’s Sushi bar and restaurant (1046 Coast Village Road, Montecito) is a favorite spot of ours and we frequent there often. Teru and I quickly bonded over our joint love for gardening. I would bring Teru produce from my garden and in return, he would create the most magical culinary creations. He has a gift for mixing the most beautiful flavors in new and imaginative ways. Teru gave me seeds to plant shisho leaves, shishito peppers and daikon radish in my garden. I then added Japanese eggplant to the mix.  Now, thanks to Teru, I have a whole Japanese section in one of my beds. Bring on the sake!

Teru’s talent for cooking directly from the garden captivated me and we set a date to cook together. Recently, my friends gathered at our house to learn the art of Japanese cooking from Teru. Teru brought his lovely wife Ellie, who is a wonderful cook in her own right. Ellie is from Macao and speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, English and a little Spanish.  We had a truly fantastic evening filled with amazing food, laughter and admittedly, a little too much sake.  No table was set, we just gathered in the kitchen around the island cooking, drinking wine and sake, what a spectacular night!

The biggest lessons learned that evening from Teru encompassed the importance of fresh, clean flavors; simple ingredients are best and you can tempura just about anything and it will taste fantastic! The tempura chive blossoms and beets were my favorites.

Here is a peek at what was on the menu: