@ San Francisco to hear a talk … @ “Galvanize” by Google, a meeting space nearby where bright minds incubate ideas for expression … co-share workplace, and a learning community, has an exciting vibe me thinks as we walk from the dim alley onto streets lit with holiday lights …

Gorgeous Christmas trees and some over the top illuminations are all over the city but  

Can’t wait to get out of the City to be honest

to return to this fox’s homey little tree … feeling the relief

away from the hustle and the bustle of agitated people hurrying home.

(* perhaps a stop over at a local yoga studio will do some good ya’all – the roads are so congested anyway, might as well sit out and get on the mat:)

Chef Toshio Oya from Japan

and his sweet wife were hosted by Wanowa, a lovely home in Santa Cruz redwoods.  Chef Oya and his wife had flown in from Japan, taking a break from a Japanese version of a “Bed & Breakfast” hotel or a lodge, he owns and manages.  This lodge’s kitchen strictly serves plant-based cuisine (Peruvian, Japanese) …yes,  in Japan.  It is apparent by his lecture that he is a true scientist, researching and talking to those in the food industry and out in the fields, to find what is real and what is artificial; what is healthy and nourishing for our body and what may pose a risk.

He taught us how to use chickpeas to create Vegan and Gluten free custard pudding and savory “Chawamushi”. Most fascinating that he can create these rich and smooth textured puddings without eggs and absolutely no dairy. If you’ve ever made custards from scratch, we know that eggs and dairy such as cream are key ingredients to bring out the rich taste but … he creates these sunny yellow custards … Vegan. While I am not vegan (eating with gratitude not tolerating food waste), really feel like I could be Vegan again (tried for about a year) when you eat his delicious creations – So tasty So amazing, we don’t feel deprived in any way.  Rather, feeling so nourished and energized with clear conscience.  If we were not told, we wouldn’t know that these are all vegan.

Loaves of Stollen (German fruit & nuts bread usually eaten during the Christmas season) It’s gluten free, using NO wheat flour ! Near sugar-free as instead of powdered white sugar, he uses powdered roasted rice for that snowy decorative touch.  The bread is soft and moist inside, but crust is just how we like it – chewy:) Sweetened naturally with dried fruits soaked in wine/brandy/rum with some walnuts.

He also went an extra mile and made Creme Brulee – again, using no eggs, no dairy.  Crazy that they turned out so rich – have some photos of him torching the tops, the modern way and the old fashion way (insert the spoon into a flame, then, place backs of the spoon on the surface for that toasty golden tops:)

Gratitude to this opportunity to meet such passionate adventurous and fun couple.  Chef Oya has been operating and cooking at their lovely Tanbo Lodge for over 20 years having retired from an exciting career as a professional photographer.  He especially loved South America so much, he apparently resided in the Andes for a period to really get to know their culture.  Yes, his camera lense focused on South America, especially Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes mountains. Given his eye for beauty, adventurous spirit and forever inquisitive and curious mind, he’s one of those passionate people who experiment over and over to perfect his recipes and skills.  He’s actually a revolutionary … being the FIRST one to serve Peruvian Vegan dishes in Japan.

Thank you for organizing this informative cooking workshop and gathering over vegan sushi, Shinobeau of Wanowa Catering and Cooking School 🙏