Showing posts from December, 2022

Who is Ken Ishibashi and why is he still Champaign-Urbana's best kept secret?

It's been a long time since I've had an omakase sushi experience and I have forgotten how special they are. Since I will be teaching a sushi making class this spring at the Common Ground Food Co-op, I thought it was high time to revisit this big-city experience. But this time, we didn't have to travel very far because Champaign-Urbana now has a sushi bar that specializes in offering a unique and informal prix fixe sushi feast that may be better than what you can get in a big cities like Chicago. The name of this unique local sushi joint is  ISHI  and it is run by Ken and Kaori Ishibashi, a husband-and-wife team of entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity and jumped right in. Japan is well known for small mom-and-pop restaurants who focus on only one thing and strive for perfection in their chosen craft. It is in this tradition that Ken and Kaori opened ISHI and Kaori's Oven about a year ago. While other restaurants offer daily specials, Japanese sushi chefs like to o

Register now for the Japanese Deep Dive series at Common Ground

Starting February 7, 2023, Common Ground Food Co-op will host the first of three Japanese "deep dive" cooking classes scheduled for the spring season. The Japanese have elevated noodle cuisine to new heights with a wide range of broths and dipping sauces as well as an infinite variety of soup ingredients and toppings. In this first session, we'll examine three different approaches to eating noodles the Japanese way by cooking up some miso ramen, a seafood udon noodle soup, and a cold soba noodle appetizer dish. We'll also be making some gyoza (potstickers) from scratch. In this hands-on series, students will participate in the cooking of their own dinner under the guidance of the instructor. Later in the season, we'll be focusing on yakitori, kushiyaki, shioyaki, sushi, sashimi, and chirashi. We'll also be tasting a variety of Japanese sake and beers during each class. Detailed descriptions and menus are posted on  my website  and you can register now on