Food, Home & Lifestyle

Ichigo Ichie

Niki Nakayama

Lesson time 03:48 min

Cooking is about inviting people in, appreciating a shared moment, and enjoying each other’s company. Niki shares her personal philosophy for hospitality and encourages you to explore your own inspirations for cooking.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Creating a Feeling of Serenity


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Hospitality is one of my favorite things because I really love taking care of people in the way like I love inviting people to our homes or to cook a meal for them. Because growing up, I felt like that was probably one of the most happiest things that we get to do at home. When my mom would invite her friends or when my grandma would invite her friends, that feeling of enjoying each other's company and eating and talking and spending time and laughing, I think that is what I love most about food. Because food brings people together. And there's this shared moment of interaction between people where you get to exchange ideas and talk about things and sort of really enjoy each other's presence and company. That's what hospitality looks like to me. And I think caring about our guests in ways that they feel taken care of is what hospitality looks like in my eyes. We do our best not to serve the same menu twice because we feel like in an environment like ours where guests come in-- they're not really given a menu to choose from-- the element of surprise is what makes it so interesting. And I love the idea that there are things that are familiar within our menu, and then there are things that are different. And I think that is on-- and, from my perspective, a way of hospitality that is really important. I want you to always be reminded of this moment happening just right now, and then when it's done, it's done. [MUSIC PLAYING] Given that we're in Los Angeles, and you know, it's not a beautiful backdrop of nature, we try to create a little bit of this feeling of serenity when you come into our restaurant. I feel that the specific techniques that we try to incorporate for the guests to continuously be present during the meal comes down to the actual visual presentation. I think that's always a focal point for people. It's easy when people see something attractive on the plate, they can't help but stop their conversation and take a look and allow our servers to explain what the food are about to eat is about. It's our responsibility to give them a whole new feeling, a whole new environment, and to sort of take them away from what they were experiencing and then give them a different one that is of care. Karen and I really thought it would be amazing if we could share some of our knowledge with you so that you can create an authentic kaiseki experience in your home and for your guests. Follow the structure of what we're teaching you. And try your best to find the perfect method within that structure in terms of trying to grill a dish, trying to steam a dish, trying to present a dish that shows off your knife skills and pick the best ingredients you can find locally. It's really important for you as a student to give yourself that space to showcase where you are and to express yourself through the food. [MUSIC PLAYING]

About the Instructor

The chef and owner of two-Michelin-starred restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles, Niki Nakayama is celebrated for her modern interpretation of kaiseki, a traditional Japanese cuisine. With her partner and sous chef, Carole, Niki will teach you techniques for preparing sashimi, tempura, perfect rice, and more. Learn how to make dishes that honor fresh ingredients as Niki shows you how to cook with care and gratitude.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Niki Nakayama

Niki Nakayama of two-Michelin-starred n/naka teaches you how to honor fresh ingredients with her innovative take on Japanese home cooking techniques.

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