About the JFR and Harris Salat

Me and Chef Tadashi Ono with the revered Chef Hisao Nakahigashi of Kyoto (center), in a field in Ohara, Japan

I launched the Japanese Food Report as a journalistic inquiry into all aspects of Japanese food culture. My hope is that it serves as a place for people interested in the cuisine to learn, share and exchange know-how. I'm approaching this as a reporter: asking questions, thinking about things, explaining and reaching conclusions. I encourage you to join me in this quest -- please comment and contribute to the site!

I got hooked on Japanese cooking on my first visit there a decade ago, when I discovered a deep culinary world way, way beyond the sushi I was familiar with. I've been returning to Japan ever since, visiting tofu makers, soy sauce makers, sake makers, shochu makers, farmers, fishermen, potters and grandmas to learn everything I can about the cuisine.

My stories about Japanese food culture have appeared in The New York Times, Gourmet, Saveur, Salon, Hemispheres and Islands, among other publications. I've also co-written two cookbooks: Japanese Hot Pots with Chef Tadashi Ono of Matsuri restaurant in New York, and Takashi's Noodles with Chef Takashi Yagihashi of Chicago.

Besides writing about Japanese cuisine, I'm cooking it, too -- for a year and half I volunteered in Chef Ono's kitchen a night a week, and this past spring I realized a long-held dream, and spent three months training in restaurant kitchens in Japan, a seminal experience.

A bit about my professional background: I turned to journalism in 1991, after stints as a dairy farmer, bread baker and cook. I reported for Associated Press radio, produced TV news at CBS News and CNBC, and worked in internet media before pursuing my taste for storytelling, travel and good eats. To check out my articles, please visit www.harrissalat.com.

Enjoy the Japanese Food Report!

Photo: Me and Chef Tadashi Ono with the revered Chef Hisao Nakahigashi of Kyoto (center), in a field in Ohara, Japan. Image courtesy of the Tokyo-based photographer Jun Takagi -- please check out his work.