Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review

This article of Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review will provide you with the opportunity to read an in-depth evaluation of Niki Nakayama’s Masterclass, including information on how the lessons are presented, and who the course is best suited for, the cost, and what I enjoyed about it, etc.

Are you unsure whether or not the Niki Nakayama MasterClass is the right fit for you and whether or not it is financially worthwhile to purchase it? Then this Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review is here to help.

In this review of the Niki Nakayama MasterClass, I’m going to walk you through the course’s highlights and lowlights, discuss whether or not I believe it’s possible to complete the course, and discuss whether or not there are any deal breakers that are important to be aware of.

This is the only instructional content that Niki Nakayama has ever released, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn the techniques that she uses to create her incredible food.

Who Is Niki Nakayama?

Who Is Niki Nakayama

Niki Nakayama is a Japanese culinary icon. In a profession that is incredibly dominated by men, she is an advocate for female chefs. In the year 2000, she opened a sushi restaurant called Azami Sushi Cafe that was staffed entirely by women.

However, she soon discovered that many Japanese men would leave the restaurant once they learned that the sushi chef was a woman. She was undeterred, and in 2011, she opened her own restaurant under her own name, n/naka, with the intention of concentrating solely on the cuisine rather than her gender.

Fast forward ten years and she has earned two Michelin stars at n/naka, in addition to garnering respect from people all over the world. If you are unfamiliar with her work, I strongly advise that you watch the episode of Chef’s Table in which she appears.

Before joining the n/naka team in 2012, she worked at her family’s sushi business as a child and opened her own two restaurants, Taisho Japanese Grill and Haiku Kitchen.

Carole, according to Niki, is the one who is able to take her wild ideas and turn them into something that other cooks can grasp. Carole is doing the same thing in this class as well. As a wealth of information, she’s a valuable asset to this MasterClass.

Niki Nakayama can also be found on Twitter, where she has over 1.7 thousand followers, and there she shares some delicious dishes that you will surely enjoy.

What Is Masterclass?

What Is Masterclass

MasterClass, is an American online education subscription platform on which students can access tutorials and lectures pre-recorded by experts in various fields. The concept for MasterClass was conceived by David Rogier and developed with Aaron Rasmussen.

On their platform, there are over one hundred well-known individuals, such as chefs Gordan Ramsay, Thomas Keller, and Yotam Ottolenghi, in addition to a great number of other professionals in domains other than cuisine.

You can learn how to teach your dog with Brandon McMillan, mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn, or photography from Annie Leibovitz and Jimmy Chin.

Since the MasterClass method of instruction isn’t suitable for everybody, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of this method before committing to paying for one of their courses. So, without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the Niki Nakayama MasterClass.

This MasterClass will focus on Niki’s contemporary interpretation of kaiseki and the fundamental ideas underlying it. Because of its aesthetic appeal and delectable flavor, kaiseki frequently draws comparisons to its Western counterpart, haute cuisine.

But in addition to that, kaiseki is an embodiment of cultural ideas and ideologies that date back hundreds of years. Some of it can be traced back to the Shinto or Buddhist religions, while other aspects of it can simply be attributed to common sense.

Course Overview – Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review

In this part of our article on the Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review, we are going to talk about the Niki Nakayama Masterclasses in great detail.

01 – Meet Your Instructor: Niki Nakayama

Chef Niki Nakayama is responsible for redefining kaiseki food by combining Japanese customs with products from California. Niki will begin her first lecture by discussing the obstacles that she overcame and the successes that she achieved on her way to achieving two Michelin stars.

02 – Kaiseki Cooking

Kaiseki can be traced back to the Zen monks who dined in Japan throughout the middle ages and adopted the multicourse meal custom. This complex dinner is meant to calm the mind and bring awareness to all of the senses, just like a traditional tea ceremony would. Niki presents her modern touch on kaiseki.

03 – Japanese Pantry Essentials

In order to practice many of the skills covered in this course, you will need to acquire some specific equipment. Niki will provide you with an overview of the fundamentals as well as some of her personal favorites.

04 – Ichiban Dashi: Kombu and Bonito Stock

In this lesson, you will learn how to create dashi, a deceptively straightforward broth that is essential to Japanese cuisine and serves as the foundation for a wide variety of meals.

05 – Japanese Culinary Tools

In order to practice many of the skills covered in this course, you will need to acquire some specific equipment. Niki will provide you with an overview of the fundamentals as well as some of her personal favorites.

06 – Rockfish: Whole Fish Preparation

Niki will teach you how to confidently handle a whole fish by demonstrating crucial knife skills and sharing a few exclusive tips from her professional experience. The eating experience is greatly impacted by both the sequence in which your dishes are served and the ingredients that go into each dish. Niki provides guidance on how to eat in a way that is both healthy and satisfying.

07 – Balance in Kaiseki

The eating experience is greatly impacted by both the sequence in which your dishes are served and the ingredients that go into each dish. Niki provides guidance on how to eat in a way that is both healthy and satisfying.

08 – Zukuri: Modern Rockfish Sashimi

As she shows how to prepare, cure, and slice rockfish for this sashimi meal, Niki integrates some Western ingredients and techniques into the traditional Japanese cooking process.

09 – Owan: Soup With Bone Broth

Find out how to prepare a delectable soup using just ingredients that won’t go to waste. Niki divulges her trade secrets for making the ideal broth and demonstrates how to properly present a bowl of hot soup.

10 – Tuna: Portions for Otsukuri and Yakimono

The brilliant red color of tuna is highly regarded in Japan, and the fish is often served as a celebration dish. Find out how to recognize different portions of the tuna, how to cut the meat into sections, and where to get fish that was caught in an ethical manner.

11 – Otsukuri: Traditional Tuna Sashimi

Niki will teach you professional techniques for slicing fish and crafting beautiful vegetable garnishes while you watch her demonstration. This is a great opportunity to improve your knife skills.

12 – Yakimono: Grilled Tuna

When cooking on a grill, the type of fuel you use will have an effect on the final flavor. Master the process of grilling over binchotan, a type of charcoal unique to Japanese cuisine, which calls for a patient and caring approach.

13 – Mushimono: Steamed Rockfish

In the middle of a meal, a dish that is simple and steamed can provide a lift that is both light and heartwarming. Rockfish cooked in pancake sauce and served with potato purée is what Niki prepares.

14 – Agemono: Rockfish and Vegetable Tempura

Learn how to fry tempura like a pro by perfecting skills like choosing the appropriate flour and ensuring your batter stays cool. Niki provides recommendations for the kind of veggies and mushrooms that work well when tempura-fried.

15 – Agemono: Tuna Karaage

In this method of cooking tuna, Niki uses a straightforward marinade that she prepares herself. Learn the appropriate times to fry fish and the times to prepare it as sashimi.

16 – Donabe: Japanese Rice Traditions

In this segment, Niki discusses the role that rice plays in Japanese culture while also presenting the donabe, a traditional clay pot, and demonstrating how it is used.

17 – Shokuji: Rice and Pickles

The final course of a kaiseki meal is typically a straightforward serving of rice accompanied by pickles. Find out how to make the ideal serving of rice, as well as how to repurpose dashi as a pickle brine, in this lesson.

18 – Ichigo Ichie

The act of cooking is about welcoming people into your home, appreciating a time that you all have together, and having fun in each other’s presence. Niki will discuss her own perspective on hospitality and will urge you to discover your own sources of inspiration with regard to food.

Pros & Cons – Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review

Pros & Cons - Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review


01 – Unique opportunity to learn from a culinary icon

There is no doubt that Niki Nakayama is an exceptionally talented cook. In addition to this, her attitude to the kitchen is entirely one of a kind.

It seems like an incredible honor for her to share her deepest, darkest secrets with us, and I picked up so many useful things along the way.

This is truly a one-of-a-kind MasterClass because, despite the fact that there are a significant number of videos on Nakayama, she is only included in a very small number of resources where she reveals her strategies.

02 – Really great teaching style and explanations

Follow-along ability is one thing, but knowing the mechanics of what you’re doing requires another.

That, in my opinion, is the defining characteristic of a great class.

If you’re looking to learn more about Japanese kaiseki food and how to put your newfound knowledge into practice, this MasterClass is a great place to start.

Carole, in particular, is an excellent choice for this. In many cases, when Nakayama is explaining something, Carole will interject with something like, “so if you see this… it indicates… and you can adapt by…”

03 – You get to learn about traditional Japanese tools but get tips to adapt to what you have

I had a lot of fun learning about the various Japanese instruments and apparatus. It was intriguing to learn about the differences between the three main Japanese knives and how they are used.

As a result, by the time I finished Nakayama’s Japanese Equipment Essentials session, I was starting to become a bit nervous.

Don’t be alarmed if this describes you.

Nakayama and Carole will frequently advise substitutes, such as a regular chef’s knife, or a specific approach if you lack the necessary tools.

Thank you for including the history and benefits of Japanese tools, but it was very useful to know that I could get started with what I already owned!

04 – Zero-waste food philosophy

In kaiseki, ingredients are honored and the natural environment is celebrated. In its default state, it adheres to the mottainai zero-waste ethos.

As Nakayama emphasizes throughout the course, he provides practical advice on how to avoid food waste.

Here, you’ll learn about correct storage methods, how to detect when foods are beyond their prime, and creative ways to recycle leftovers.

In Nakayama’s zero-waste philosophy, she encourages you to obtain the greatest materials possible, and your checkbook will likely thank her for it!

05 – Impressive, but manageable recipes

These items are obviously scaled-down versions of what she had on the sample menu for n/naka, but I couldn’t be happier to find that they were available!

All of the recipes that you will learn to make are for outstanding, savory, and attractive dishes; nevertheless, they should be well within the reach of an average person such as you or I, without the need to invest in decades of experience that takes Niki to the Michelin star levels.

06 – On-screen glossary for unfamiliar terms

There were many strange phrases because this was my first time making kaiseki. However, MasterClass’ on-screen lexicon complements Nakayama’s excellent explanations of each phrase.

Getting used to unfamiliar words might take some time, so I was glad to discover that the pop-up explanations persisted even after I’d seen the word a few times.

Despite its modest size, it helps you absorb as much information as possible in the midst of so many foreign phrases.


01 – Extra information in the workbook

The textbook is a recipe book, which is disappointing.

This course could have benefited from a workbook with recipes, supplementary reading, and homework, like Gordon Ramsay’s.

Occasionally, I had further inquiries. The workbook contains some extra information, but not much more than a traditional recipe book.

Nakayama thinks it’s important to know how to sharpen blades and that it’s challenging but doable. She doesn’t say how to sharpen them.

I understand that walking down every tangent in a class isn’t realistic or beneficial, therefore I’m fine with these things not being addressed in the videos.

Here’s where the workbook could have supplemented the class and added missing material.

02 – A shopping list for the entire course

While each dish includes a list of ingredients at the beginning, I would have preferred to have a master shopping list for the full course.


A whole fish is shown in the portioning classes, and individual portions are shown in the recipes so you can gauge your usage.

The list makes it appear as though you’ll need a large number of fish, but you really only need one rockfish and a tuna loin to make this dish.

A list of the actual items you’ll need to purchase would be helpful to provide some more clarity.

03 – Hard to source ingredients

Because Niki lives in such a tiny town, obtaining some of the ingredients for her con proved difficult.

While kombu and katsuobushi are readily available online, I had no idea where to obtain things like yuzu and ended up using lemon and/or lime in place of it. “

For the right folks, there is a workbook that indicates where you can find more authentic ingredients. Because it’s mainly applicable to the United States, it has some drawbacks.

04 – Not for everyone

This MasterClass is really only going to be useful for a small group of very specialized individuals.

You will not be handling any cuts of meat while you are participating in this MasterClass because the cuisine that you will be preparing is entirely based on fish.

That is not something that everyone should do.

If you enjoy cooking in that way, there shouldn’t be an issue, but you should be aware that the skills you learn won’t be as easily portable or adaptable as those you would learn in something like Gordon Ramsay’s MasterClass.

Who Should Take This Class?

Not suitable for vegetarians or those who follow a vegan diet. Other than a brief mention of how to make dashi vegan at the beginning, there isn’t much here for people who don’t consume fish.

A couple of strategies were attempted with tofu instead of fish to see if they were adaptable, and while they were successful, the course would be more beneficial if you eat fish.

As a bonus, the gutting and dismemberment of the fish are graphic, so you’ll need a stomach for it!

If you have a severe bean or gluten allergies or do not want any veggies, we are sorry but we cannot accommodate your dietary needs. This includes but is not limited to: no fish/meat only, no seafood (including kelp broth), and extreme dietary restrictions (that would exclude all soy sauce or miso).

MasterClass offers a wide variety of cooking classes if any of these describe you.

Having said that, if you’re the appropriate student, this lesson is fantastic. If you’re thinking about:

  • Do you have a passion for Japanese cuisine?
  • The love of seafood
  • devoted to the concept of waste-free cooking
  • Do you have an interest in gaining more knowledge on the kaiseki tradition?
  • Are a big Niki Nakayama fan

Course Pricing – Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review

Course Pricing - Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review

There may have been a price adjustment in MasterClass since this article on Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review was written, so check here for the most current information. A MasterClass subscription costs $180 per year, or $15 per month, at the time of this writing.

MasterClass subscriptions provide you access to all of MasterClass’s more than 100 courses. In other words, you can take Niki Nakayama’s lesson alongside Gordan Ramsay, Ottolenghi, Thomas Keller, and Aaron Franklin, all for the same flat charge.

One of the best things about this program is that the cost per class drops as you attend more classes. You’ll be paying $30-$45 per session, on average, assuming there are six or more classes you’re interested in. This works out to $30 for each of the six classes that you take.

Because these seminars are taught by professionals from around the globe, their values cannot be matched. It’s a sort of learning hack. In addition, if you’re not satisfied with your purchase within 30 days, MasterClass will return your money.

There is a way to purchase the course separately, but it is a bit cumbersome. In order to give yourself the gift of learning, you can purchase a single MasterClass for yourself. The cost is $90.

With the All-Access Pass, you’ll get the most bang for your buck, especially when you consider how many courses MasterClass offers that complement this one. With a trip to Nakayama costing up to $800, learning some of Nakayama’s skills is a bargain in comparison.

Is The Course Content Unique?

During the course of my investigation for the “alternatives” portion of this Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review, I came across the following information:

This class is unlike any other that I’ve taken.

Certainly, the kaiseki tradition dates back hundreds of years, and Nakayama employs traditional cooking methods, which, by definition, aren’t particularly innovative.

On the other hand, Nakayama has almost little educational content available online. No recipe books or YouTube videos, with the exception of very brief documentaries-style videos on YouTube. Nothing.

Although it is possible to acquire the knowledge necessary to prepare kaiseki in any location, the chance to study Nakayama’s traditional cooking techniques is extremely uncommon.

Niki Nakayama Masterclass Review – Is It Worth It?

If you’re a fan of Japanese food, love fish, or just want to learn more about Kaiseki, take Niki’s MasterClass.

The Niki Nakayama MasterClass was well worth the money in my opinion.

This MasterClass is intended for persons who enjoy Japanese food or are interested in seafood, but we believe that everybody may benefit from it to some extent. Please check out the other MasterClasses we have evaluated if you are vegetarian or vegan and merely want to cook a piece of meat because this one doesn’t have what you’re searching for.

Because n/meals Naka’s can cost $400, it’s remarkable that Nakayama’s class costs less than half that amount to attend. With an All-Access Pass, you’ll get even more bang for your buck by checking out other classes on the platform.

Moreover, MasterClass offers a 30-day refund policy in the event that you don’t like the course!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is Niki Nakayama’s MasterClass?

The MasterClass that is taught by Niki Nakayama lasts for 4 hours, and 7 minutes and is comprised of 18 videos.

How much does Niki Nakayama’s MasterClass cost?

An all-access pass to MasterClass can be purchased for $180 per year (or $15 per month). This grants you access to more than one hundred different classes, including Niki Nakayama’s MasterClass.

Can you get Niki Nakayama’s MasterClass for free?

It is not possible for you to access the Niki Nakayama MasterClass for free at this time. However, MasterClass provides a number of different purchase alternatives, and if you aren’t satisfied with the service, you may get your money back.

Can I get a refund if I don’t like Niki Nakayama’s MasterClass?

If you make your purchase directly with MasterClass, you are eligible for a refund within the first 30 days after your purchase. If you make purchases through other providers, you may be subject to the return policy of those providers.

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