Sachie Nomura is the founder of the Parnell-based cooking school Sachie's Kitchen and a contributor in Bite magazine. As a purpose-built cooking school dedicated to Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian and Thai cuisine, it is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Originally from Aichi, Japan, Sachie has been in New Zealand since the mid-90s and aims to share her extensive knowledge of Asian cooking with New Zealanders. Go to Sachie's Kitchen to find out more about cooking classes.
What’s your earliest food memory?
I would have been 7 or 8 years old and my mum called me from the kitchen to help her – to make dumplings. I had to sit at the dining table to make hundreds of dumplings with my mum. However, this was really enjoyable as we could have mother-daughter girly chats.
Where do you draw your culinary inspiration?
I don’t read many cookbooks to be honest, because I like to stay original and uninfluenced. However, sometimes when I flip through food magazines I get some food presentation and combination ideas. For example if I see a panna cotta in a magazine – I quickly imagine dark palm sugar syrup, sago, and making my own unique Asian twist to recipes. However I would say I would draw much of my inspiration simply by traveling overseas (particularly Asia) to taste local food and culture and that just spawns idea after idea.
Who is your cooking idol?
I don’t actually have one. Again I feel if I follow a person I lose my originality, but if you to ask me who would I like to meet that would be a different story. My favourite celebrity chef would probably be Gordon Ramsay – I’d love to meet him because I see so much passion in him about food. Jamie Oliver for the energy, but minus the oil. I’d also like to meet Luke Nguyen from Sydney because he has so much knowledge about Vietnamese cuisine and culture - I’d love to just have a chat. Oh I’d love to meet Jiro (the only 3-Michelin starred sushi chef in the world), again about chat and listen about his philosophy around food.
What is your greatest cooking achievement to date?
1. Creating my own successful cooking school.
2. Being asked to make my own TV show about Japanese food culture.
3. Writing my own cookbook (coming out in 2014)
What’s your favourite meal?
Well-cooked white rice and miso soup with grilled fish – seasoned just with salt and a side-dish of pickles and braised daikon stew. It makes me feel humble, my mum would regularly cook this and this is what I remember the most. I think honestly, I eat for the company, I love the food, but my memories are actually of the people that the food brought together.
What’s your biggest kitchen disaster?
Flooding in the kitchen. This was a nightmare. We have a Healthy Monday Sushi service from the cooking school in Parnell weekly. Then one day we just heard this gurgling sound, I looked at the floor and there was water everywhere. Within five minutes the whole floor was underwater. Luckily I remembered that the plumber told me where the mains were to turn off the pump and I averted total disaster. However, it was a horrible feeling and sight when it happened.
If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Hmm, I don’t know if it’s possible – but food in the Taj Mahal. Purely out of curiosity.What are your kitchen must haves?
What are your kitchen must haves?
Chopsticks, a sharp knife, mortar & pestle or hand-blender / food processor. I think a wok is a necessity also. Oh and a good rice cooker.
Why do you love cooking?
I love cooking because food brings people together from all cultures. It is essential to live but you don’t live without company. Good food is essential for a good life.
Who is your dream dinner guest?
Brad Pitt & comedian Russell Peters with entertainment by the gorilla from the Cadbury ads who plays the drums on ‘In the air tonight’.