Akila Inouye is the Founder and Master Chef of Tsukiji Soba Academy, which was established in 2002 near Tsukiji, where the largest fish market in the world is located. He has been teaching soba for more than fifteen years.
Akila has developed a logical approach to making soba by hand.
Since the Academy's inception, Akila has taught soba to over 20,000 people, many of whom have become soba masters themselves, and own their soba restautants in Japan and overseas. Teach Sakurai of "Teian" in Dallas and Hiromi Takahashi of "Soba Koh" in NYC are both Tsukiji Soba Academy's graduates. They are well thought of among US soba lovers.
Akila has written many books about soba in Japanese.
He is the contributing editor and writer of "The Dictionary of Cookery Terms" 2010 Japanese edition. Akila's new soba book will be coming out in the summer of 2010 by Asahiya Syuppan.
His dream is to spread soba culture in the world. In 2009, he did a US Coast to Coast Soba Tour. He organized soba demonstrations and workshops in New York, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The response was very positive.
Akila is returning to Los Angeles in June 2010 to offer over 20 workshops in handmade soba and Japanese home cooking sessions with Sonoko Sakai.
Akila was born and raised in Tokyo. He enjoys Tokyo style cuisine. Soba is his favorite food, and it is the main reason why he decided to become a Soba artisan. His cooking policy is "Be radical." He is always thinking about what he can do for the ingredient. His cooking theory is based on treating the existing water within each ingredient in its optimum way. "Mazumizu" means "Water first" in Japanese.
Sonoko Sakai is a Japanese writer and film producer who calls two places home: Santa Monica, Calif., and Tokyo, Japan. Sonoko was born in New York but raised in many places -- Kamakura, Tokyo, San Francisco, Mexico City and Los Angeles. As a freelance writer, Sonoko writes about Japanese home cooking and pens memoirs of her multicultural upbringing and travels. She is passionate about making soba by hand.
Sonoko learned how to cook from two wonderful home cooks: her Japanese grandmother and her mother. Sonoko's cookbook, The Poetical Pursuit of Food, Japanese Recipes for American Cooks (1986; Clarkson Potter) is about the season-to-season days spent in her grandmother's kitchen in Kamakura, the ancient city near Tokyo. Sonoko has contributed stories and recipes to the Los Angeles Times, the now defunct Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Saveur and Bungei Shunju (Japan).
Besides writing and cooking, Sonoko worked as a film buyer for Japanese film distributors for more than 15 years. Five years ago, she switched to producing films. In 2007, Sonoko produced the movie "Silk" based on the novel by Alessandro Barico and directed by Francois Girard ("Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould"). In 2008, she produced "Blindness," based on the Nobel Prize- winning book by Jose Saramago and directed by Fernando Meireilles ("City of God"). Sonoko continues to work in films.
In 2009 she decided to do something she has always wanted to do -- learn how to make soba by hand. She enrolled in a professional soba-making course at theTsukiji Soba Academy in Tokyo. She is now a certified soba maker. Her dream is to grow buckwheat and mill her own flour to make soba.