A small group of food lovers were treated to handmade soba earlier this summer when soba chef Yuji Sugiura set up shop in the kitchen at the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta and prepared soba the traditional way — from scratch.
Yuki Nagoya, NCS vice president has known Mr. Sugiura for many years and does business with him regularly. Although Mr. Sugiura’s day job has nothing to do with cooking (he works for an import company in Japan), he is trained as a soba chef and likes to share his knowledge and the fruits of his labour, with people. So Yuki invited him to Lethbridge.
“I also really enjoy soba and nothing tastes better than home prepared soba,” says Yuki. “If you have grown up in Japan you can never forget the taste and flavor of this noodle.”
Mr. Sugiura makes Kanto-style soba. Before we sat down to eat the noodles we watched the chef go through the labourious process of mixing the buckwheat flour (which he brought with him) into dough, rolling it with special rolling pins until it was just the right thickness, and then hand-cutting the layered dough into thin buckwheat noodles with a special knife.
Yuki says the trip was a trial run to gauge interest in such a tour. Judging by its success, we may see the soba chef back next year.