Since 2008, through a myriad of catering events of all occasions and sizes as well as our signature bento boxes at our own restaurant, Chef Naoko has been serving authentic Japanese food with keen focus on organic and seasonal ingredients that are mostly sourced locally here in the Portland area. Maintaining and highlighting the natural flavors of ingredients might be the most important element when we talk about Japanese cuisine, and there are no exceptions here, as we religiously pay attention to what goes into the food we serve.
There are a few Japanese words that you might want to remember upon starting to frequent here, and this one would be definitely a good start - “Kodawari.” It means “to conscientiously stand by something you believe in,” and it’s often associated with all kinds of creative process in general in Japan. But for each and every master, it usually represents their own unique differentiation point and angle as well. You will hear this word being used all the time as well here by Chef Naoko, and her “Kodawari” is to cook the best organic ingredients in the most natural way possible.
There is a very personal reason behind this…
Naoko Tamura, the owner chef, grew up in Tokyo with severe dietary restrictions early on in her life. She was also extremely sensitive to any preservatives and chemical components, which were commonly found in school lunches back then. After seeing her daughter coming back sick from school all the time, Naoko’s mother went to work. Not only did she start cooking completely healthy food for her own daughter with all organic ingredients and without any artificial additives, but soon she also started being a big advocate for such healthy choices by starting her own restaurant as well as through consultation to a broad range of food industry companies and organizations.
Naturally, growing up in the middle of all of this, Naoko found herself starting to help her mother out and soon embarked on her own culinary career, which eventually led her to open her restaurant in Portland after completely falling in love with its unique and rich food culture on so many different levels. For the last 8 years, Naoko has been busy cultivating good working relationships with Portland’s proud food producers and purveyors while working on her own craft; authentic Japanese cuisine with the Portland locality in mind.
With the new expanded operation, we are aiming to offer a more formal and enhanced execution of Chef Naoko’s cuisine. Add a few other signature pillars of Japanese food culture, such as seasonality and sensible hospitality, and these elements together represent the primary backbone of what we want to accomplish here at Shizuku… all in a completely new space designed by Kengo Kuma, world-renowned architect who was recently awarded the 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium as well as our beloved Portland Japanese Garden – Cultural Crossing Expansion in our own backyard!