The Fare Trade Guest Editor + Interview

Mika Takeuchi - Food Fashionista

What came first your love of food or passion for fashion?

My earliest memories always centered around food. Whether it was my mother preparing and surprising me with my favorite bento items for school-time lunch, or enjoying ikura at the sushi bar with my father, these moments always make me smile.


You grew up in Tokyo! How does their approach to food and fashion differ from that in the Bay Area?

I was born in Tokyo and have lived and spent a lot of time there, but I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both places hold a very special place in my heart. In Japan, a focus on pristine ingredients and minimalist composition have always been an ingrained part of the culture and therefore is prominently evident in the food, presentation, design and so on. Throughout the years, it’s been fun and interesting to see the Japanese aesthetic and ingredients I have known so well since childhood, become new and adopted here in the U.S. As far as fashion, the biggest difference is that Tokyo is a fashion-forward city. San Francisco isn’t.


With Fall upon us, what ingredients are you excited to see back again?

I always look forward to the return of Kabocha in the late summer, early fall. Pumpkin, when prepared correctly can be highly enjoyable in both savory and sweet preparations.


What is the one clothing item appropriate for any restaurant?

Shoes are a must-have. Unless you’re smack dab right on the beach or you are Michael Franti, there’s just no excuse to be barefoot in a dining establishment.


How do the worlds of food and fashion intersect?

What to wear? What to eat? These are questions that we ask ourselves daily. Both food and fashion can express an individual’s unique sense of thought and style. Chefs create and showcase their own personal style in everything from how they plate their chosen ingredients to the selection of dish ware they use.


It’s Happy Hour. What’s your drink of choice?

Give me a nice, crisp, cool glass of Champagne or a Kir Royale and I’m happy.


Do you have a favorite local artisanal treat?

A spoonful of raw Marshall’s Farm Honey both by itself and in my cup of tea or coffee is how I start my day. I purchase the Bay Area blend weekly and believe it’s also assisted in toning down my local, seasonal allergies. We are pretty blessed here in the Bay Area with the multitude of artisanal choices.


If you could choose one of September’s featured ingredients to cook with, what would you choose and what would you make?

The Pure Oregon Flake Sea Salt would be the perfect pantry staple. A high-quality salt is an essential item in any kitchen. But, one should never over salt. That’s a salty sin.


What chef is always on your “Best Dressed” list? Which restaurant?

The last time they were in the U.S. from Copenhagen, Denmark, I had the pleasure of dining with the chefs from Geranium on several occasions. Executive Chef Rasmus Kofoed, Assistant Head Chef Will King-Smith and Will’s wife Sarah were always impeccably and stylishly outfitted.


What’s up next for you? Any exciting culinary travels or ventures to share?

I have several upcoming adventures planned, but coming up soon includes a visit to Oregon to explore the local dining scene and the Feast Portland food festival. I’m excited about that! I’ll also be in New York at the end of the month for the 2015 NYC Michelin Guide launch.



The Fare Trade connects at-home cooks and gastronomic aficionados with the America’s top up-and-coming chef talent and culinary artisans through curated baskets coupled with exclusive recipes and video tutorials. Their purveyors are chosen based on criteria including artisans with small-batch efforts that create their products by hand. The majority of their purveyors are not found outside of regional markets within their area and have limited distribution channels. 


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