It was quite interesting to learn about what kind of ingredients used for vegan ramen and gyoza, also very lovely house where we took the class. But there are some things to consider :
1) Cost : We’ve been living in Japan for quite sometime so understand how much it will cost to get all ingredients around here quite well. It is extremely overpriced considering not all ingredients were freshly bought but leftover from whatever used in the kitchen. Not saying it should be all new and fresh but it was very obvious all the ingredients used in the class are somewhat reused or leftovers from home cooking (e.g used miso paste, used oils, used condiments…) So I would say total cost of ingredients required to buy fresh (gyoza wrap, some vegetables, noodles…) for this class would be less than usd20 per person at maximum.
2) Time : It is 1.5 hrs maximum for cooking and eating what you made. First 30min will be looking around local supermarket to learn about what ingredients to be used (which is nice experience too especially for tourists) and after that you walk to the house for another 15min. We met at the station around 10am, started cooking around 10:45, ended cooking around 11:50 and eating food for about 10-15min and left the place at 12:15. There could be another 30min to be added if you want to go back to supermarket and buy some souvenirs to bring back home. But consider that actual class is give or take 1 hour.
3) Quality : You won’t be cooking at the stove at all. At best you’ll chop few slices of vegetables and add condiments and make sauces. I was expecting to make everything from the scratch by myself but it’s more like Kaori cooks for you while you help chopping few ingredients and make simple sauce for gyoza. You do make gyoza filling and shapes though which was quite nice, but you don’t get to do much with ramen. Besides noodles are store bought, which was expected but for people who make fresh pasta at home or like to cook from the scratch it won’t give you the satisfaction. I expected high quality of lessons because it’s private and the price is not cheap but it’s a very basic simple daily house cooking which I think again doesn’t justify with the cost.
4) Cleanliness : It’s one of the things that I found disappointing. If you’re visiting friends and make something together sure it can be bit messy, but afterall this is paid cooking class. You expect that stove is clean and the bowls used are clean. I found lots of dirt marks around the kitchen stove and seatings, as well as hairs on the bowls, some unknown food marks on the chopping boards and small containers. You are also using miso paste from the container that seemed to be used for other cookings before as well.
Overall, I think Kaori is nice and it’s interesting experience but I would think twice for trying again or recommending to someone else. Cost is too high for the quality and the experience you get.