Meet Yoko Nakazawa

Cooking with Koji - Melbourne

Growing up in Japan, Yoko watched and helped as her father grew vegetables in their garden, and her mother turned these into nourishing dishes for the family to eat, but also found ways to preserve the fresh produce through techniques such as fermenting and pickling.

When Yoko moved to Australia, she struggled with the language and culture shift, and as a result, she felt she lost much of her confidence and her sense of identity. Returning to her cooking and fermenting skills helped her find herself again, and gave her something to offer her new community.

Now Yoko is carrying on these traditions, and the appreciation for food that tastes good and is good for you, through her business, ‘Cooking with Koji’.

It’s named after the koji starter for the Japanese fermentation process that produces foods and seasonings full of gut-enriching edible probiotics and prebiotics – including miso as well as soy sauce, sake, mirin and vinegar.

Through her business, Yoko sells the living organic one-year-fermented miso product that she has produced, and also runs cooking and fermentation classes.

Pick your experience & get in touch with Yoko here :

1) Japanese calligraphy experience with Yoko Mindfulness calligraphy workshop. You can learn how to hold a brush, enjoy the aroma of ink, and sound of the brush stroke on the Washi paper. You will master your name in Japanese! For Japanese learners and for Japanese, more practise options are available.

2) Umeboshi making workshop with Yoko - the medicinal pickles In this workshop, we make Umeboshi - the Japanese essential pickles which last the rest of your life. Some people pickle 100 of Umeboshi when they have a kid, and every year the kid can eat one as celebration until the 100 year old celebration! Great harmony with Shiso leaves, this beautiful colour and aroma pickles are my medicinal pickles and I enjoy using them in my cooking. Recently I had many requests to show how to make this pickles, we'll make them together.

3) Japanese fermented pickles making workshop with Yoko - Takuan (Pickled Daikon in rice bran) Do you know Takuan? It's a pickled Daikon but the one you can find in the super market is in plastic bag and coloured in yellow and full of chemicals. You can make a real & healthy one! It takes time but it's fun and really yummy. I would like to show you how to make this yummy pickles. This workshop provide two session. 1- preparation session. 2 - Making fermenting medium session. I will also show you how to enjoy eating them!!

4) Japanese fermented pickles making workshop with Yoko - Rice bran pickling (Nuka zuke) In this workshop, you will learn about the most popular Japanese fermented pickles - Nuka zuke, rice bran pickling. Actually start preparing Nuka medium so that you can pickle your favourite veggies in that medium the rest of you life!! All ingredients are included. After the class, we have nukazuke lunch together from Yoko's Nuka pot!

5) Japanese home style cooking workshop with Yoko Yoko, the founder of Cooking with Koji is a Japanese food and fermentation specialist. With a keen interest in fermentation cultures globally, Yoko brings deep expertise in Japanese home style cooking and traditional fermentation techniques. Yoko’s miso is made to a centuries-old family recipe. It has featured on MasterChef Australia (Season 12, Episode18). Yoko hosts this cooking workshop in her home where she shares her familial and cultural love of fermented foods and their ability to enhance the flavour and nutritional value of ingredients while also making them less perishable. In this workshop, you will learn how to cook delicious Japanese food using her popular organic brown rice miso. The workshop menu will change by season as seasonal produce is a key element of Japanese cooking. Participants will learn to prepare 5-6 dishes during this workshop. Not only you will cook these dishes, but you will also learn Japanese table etiquette, table setting, and how to prepare and serve in the uniquely Japanese way. After cooking, we all eat together so that you have plenty of time to speak with Yoko. Workshop time : 3 hours Includes : Welcome tea, all ingredients, recipe hand out

6) Making organic miso paste with Yoko This is the most popular workshop in Cooking with koji provides. In this workshop, you will learn about basic information about miso, types of Japanese fermentation, how to make organic miso paste. It is a hands on workshop, so you will actually use your hands and let the products ferment! After making miso, we all have yummy Yoko's famous fermentation lunch.

Book your workshop now here: