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Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to teach and share my passion for Japanese cooking. Apart from writing books, I’ve also contributed articles in publications and worked alongside esteemed journalists, food critics and cookbook authors. Here are some of their reviews and articles I’ve written.

There are quite a few good cooks around. And there are good teachers, too. And good writers. But Sonoko Sakai is one of the very, very small number who can do all three exceedingly well. Sonoko is not only a terrific cook, inventive but with a deep understanding of traditional flavors, but she has the rare gift of being able to teach you to appreciate and replicate those as well. And through her written stories and anecdotes, she places the food she’s created in a contemporary context. Raised with a foot in each country, she is able to explain Japanese culture to Americans in a way that Americans can best understand it. The fact that cooking is her medium and that she does it so well makes those lessons delicious.
— Russ Parsons – Former columnist and food editor for the Los Angeles Times Food Section
Sonoko Sakai is a soba master! I’ve had her exceptional noodles a number of times, most memorably at dinners in Los Angeles restaurants on my behalf when touring my cook books, Vegetable Literacy and The New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone.They were so delicious and had such a good texture that I was honored that they were being cooked and served as a part of my meal. I wish all soba noodles were as good! I did learn to make soba noodles from a Zen Master at one point in my life. He wanted them every 5 days for his day-off lunch, so I know from that experience that it takes a great deal of practice to turn out a good noodle and even more to turn out one of Sonoko’s quality.
— Deborah Madison –author of The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
“Soba saved me,” she (Sakai) said. A movie buyer and producer raised in New York, Mexico, and Japan, Sakai lived a big life in the presence of stars. But seven years ago, she finished producing a difficult film, one that burned her out, and she took more and more satisfaction in learning about noodles on her business trips to Japan. The day Sakai thought it would be a good idea to leave her clothes behind and fill her luggage with buckwheat flour was the day she knew her life had changed. “I stripped everything out of my life that I didn’t need.” Now she teaches the meditation of noodle making. “I like the scale of making food,” she said, and so she committed herself to the intimacy, the humanness, the smallness of a simple craft that you make, serve, and watch disappear over and over again.
— Francis Lam – Food writer. Story excerpted from The Art of Soba Noodles, Saveur
Sonoko Sakai is a master of the art of flavor and texture development in all things delicious, especially heritage grain cookery where her insights and originality from garden and field to bowl are unparalleled.”
— Glenn Roberts – Founder of Anson Mills
Sonoko Sakai is an amazing chef and teacher. She demonstrates an uncommon sense of direction in her creations and the results are always pure uncompromising beauty and flavor.
— Steven Jones – Director of the Bread Lab WSU
“Great soba doesn’t quite exist in Los Angeles, except possibly when Sonoko Sakai is doing one of her occasional soba pop-ups.”
— Jonathan Gold – Restaurant critic of the Los Angeles Times

Omotenashi, Season 2 Episode 3

By KCET - Migrant Kitchen