Now here’s some edible entertainment from MAFF (Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) which your taste buds can’t afford to miss! The Japan Centre’s master chef Kinu Yukawa will be demonstrating how you can jazz up your lunchtimes with some Hello Kitty kawaii, as she takes her lessons on “kyara-ben” (packed lunches designed to look like children’s favourite characters) to our Festival stage on each day of the event!
During these interactive demonstrations, lucky audience members will be able to go up on stage and make some Hello Kitty kyara-ben alongside Kinu herself, learning about the intricacies of each ingredient and about general bento design along the way. Audience members will also be able to sample some Japanese treats which are commonly used to make these miniature packed-lunch masterpieces. All of you keen beans out there, get there early and grab a prime spot in the front row to maximise your chances of getting selected!
For those of you not in the foodie loop, kyara-ben are a noted Japanese cultural and culinary phenomenon. Recipe books, websites, and Flickr groups all celebrate the creativity and imagination of these cutest of cooking achievements. They are thought to have started out as a method of getting children to eat their lunches, and then became widespread for a number of possible reasons including: Japanese inherent love of kawaii; frustrated creative instincts; competitive parenting; or just simple enjoyment of cooking food which makes your kids smile.
Profile: Kinu Yukawa
Kinu Yukawa has travelled the world on her palate. She was brought up in the gourmet city of Kobe, and later arrived in London via New York, Hong Kong, and the École Ritz Escoffier, Paris. Trained in the art of Japanese cuisine by master chefs in Kyoto and Tokyo, Kinu is the Food Creative & Cooking Instructor at the Japan Centre.