Meet the Maker: Bento maker Indigo Cooking

Meet the Maker: Bento maker Indigo Cooking

Japanese cooking teacher Chikako Kanagaki teaches classes from her home in Tokyo under the name Indigo Cooking. She has a particular passion for creating delicious Bento boxes, and started photographing and sharing them on Instagram.

We happened to notice nugoo Bento wraps were appearing in these delicious lunch box spreads and we reached out to find out more.

Question: What types of classes?

I usually have the private lesson which is custom-made for each request, for individual or groups. Also, I sometime have the lesson at the event, too.

Question: Do you teach Japanese food or foreign “western” food?

I don’t stick to the Japanese food, I can also teach Western, Chinese…etc. What the most important thing is that each student can cook them at their home many times!

Question: Do you teach classes for locals or visitors from other countries to learn Japanese cooking?

Most of the students come to my class within Tokyo, however, in the past, we have students from all over the Japan. Also, I teach the foreign tourists, too. Since one of my specialty is Bento, I like to teach foreigners about the importance for Bento for Japanese people, and the way to pack the dish in a Bento box.

Question: When did you start?

I started from 2003, and this year is the 16th. First, my students are from the local area, however, recently, many students joined my class from my home prefecture.  I only teach the classes, I don’t do catering.

Question: We, nugoo Japan, discovered you through your Bento boxes, are lunch box recipes of particular interest?

I don’t stick to only bento for classes, however, this is my routine work now. I have two boys and had made bento for them from their kindergarten age until they graduated from their high school. After they graduate from high school, next, my husband asked me to make bento for him! The reason why I am uploading the photo (to Instagram) is because I am also learning how to take photo, so this is just for my practice, too! Since I am now making bento every day, so it I s really good practice for my camera skills!

The biggest fun of bento is the moment when we open the lid of the Bento box.  Once we open the lid, and if we can find the very colourful and yummy looking dishes inside, it makes people excited so much! I also put some left-over food from the breakfast into my bento box and eat them for my lunch on the same day.  If I place them on the plate, it is just the “left-over” food, however, if I put them in the bento box, somehow, they look much better and looks more attractive! This is bento magic!

Question: We love the way you use nugoo Bento wraps. Can you tell us what you like about them?

I like nugoo BENTO since they have the wider variation of colourful and pop design.

When I bought BENTO for the first time,  the design was rainbow ones and It attract my attention at the store, right away. When I decide to upload my bento photo in IG, I decided to have the similar looking for bento wrapping fabric, so I bought 5-6 BENTO at the store. I remember that it took about 30 minutes to choose the design since nugoo’s BENTO design are all cute and I cannot decide which ones I should buy! As I expected, their designs made my bento photo much nicer!

 Also, their quality is very good! No matter how many time I put them in the washing machine, they are still good!

Question: What are the important things to note when preparing bento.

Colour is of key importance. When you open the lid, the colours increase people’s appetite. So, I try to include red, white, yellow, green and black. Especially, Green, it can be the key colour, so it is necessary.

If we can include many colours, it means that that bento contains wider nutrition.  The colourful bento is a well balanced one!

Question: Do you need to keep a bento box chilled in Summer?

Regardless of the season, I always use “cooler Bag” and put some blue ice in it (chiller blocks). In the summer, I put more blue ice. In my husband’s case, once he arrives at the office, the air conditioner can help, however, on the way to the office, we need to pay attention to it.

Also, we need to cool down each dish when we pack them. If we close the lid and each dish is still warm, the food gets damaged easily.

For Kanagaki-san's easy Bento recipes, email us:

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