Have you heard about Blind Pig of Asheville???

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Justin Belleme

So, I've been hearing about the Blind Pig of Asheville from my friends connected to the local foodie and culinary scene since last fall. Being a local food aficionado and frequent patron of many local restaurants I was intrigued, but my busy schedule and the scarcity of tickets made Blind Pig a "maybe next time" event on my social calendar.

That changed however, when I saw that the January event, titled Rising Sun, was a Washoku dinner focusing on traditional Japanese culinary delights. Japanese cuisine holds a very special place in my heart due to the major roll that Japanese food and culture has played in my parents lives. My parents met at a study house in Massachusetts in the 1970s where they were studying a variety of holistic and alternative lifestyle traditions, many with roots in Japanese culture and cuisine.

Several years later they embarked on a journey to Japan in order to learn the secret of making miso in preparation for starting the American Miso Company. A slide show from their trip can be viewed on this miso blog that I built last summer as a case study for my new company.

Not long after their return to the US and the foundation of the American Miso Company in Rutherfordton, NC, I was born. From the very beginning Japanese food and culture were a part of my day to day life. My first babysitter / caretaker was a Japanese man who worked at the miso factory. In our house we slept on traditional Japanese futons and ate meals at a traditional Japanese table called a kotatsu. Daily meals included Japanese staples such as miso, tofu, nori, diakon, among others. Some of my first meals out were at sushi restaurants where I would always order "kappa maki, no wasabi."

Flash forward to 2012... I could not miss the opportunity to see what some of the best chefs in Asheville would come up with for a 12 course Japanese feast. I knew going in that they were not experts in Japanese cuisine, but neither are any of the current chefs at the local Japanese restaurants in Asheville. The last Japanese born sushi chefs that I am aware of in Asheville were Yoshihiro "Joe" Kato, formerly the chef / owner of Heiwa and Tomo Toguchi the former chef / owner of Tomo Japanese Cuisine and Sushi bar in the space currently held by Green Tea sushi in West Asheville, but both left town years ago.

I was excited for Sunday's Blind Pig all week! The event exceeded my expectations and I was immensely impressed with the execution, professionalism, ambiance, and overall energy of the event. I'm not a culinary writer so my vocabulary won't capture the authenticity & beauty of the event. Hopefully, my amateur skills as a photographer will do it justice.

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John - Thursday, January 26, 2012 @ 6:37:40 pm


Dai, the current owner of Heiwa, is native Japanese. So was Kanji, the last owner. New stuff on the menu since then. You should check them out!


<a href='http://www.ashevillenow.com/user/justin-belleme/'>Justin Belleme</a>

Justin Belleme - Friday, January 27, 2012 @ 9:48:52 am

I'm sorry for the misinformation. I do enjoy Heiwa on a regular basis, I guess that I just did not look into it enough as I was under the impression that the restaurant was under American ownership after Joe and just assumed it was still the same. Again my facts could be wrong there as well. Anyway, Heiwa is great and I do enjoy that their food is healthier and more traditional than many of the other Japanese options in this area!
~ Justin

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About the Author - Justin Belleme

Justin Belleme

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