Niki Nakayama MasterClass Review


Welcome to my blog! If you want to learn how to master the art of Japanese cooking, a MasterClass with Chef Niki Nakayama is a great place to start. In this blog post, I’ll be giving an in-depth review of my online course experience and how I took my cooking skills to the next level. So grab your spatulas and let’s get cooking!


Niki Nakayama is a Los Angeles-based Japanese American sushi chef who has earned recognition for her innovative approach to traditional Japanese cuisine. Chef Niki’s MasterClass tackles the complex culinary art of sushi in an engaging, relatable and comprehensive way. With her guidance, learners can expect to gain an understanding of the fundamentals and creative approaches necessary for success in the kitchen.

The course includes 12 lectures covering topics such as:

  • Basics on sushi etiquette, traditional forms of sushi, ingredients and cutting techniques;
  • Assembling nigiri; plating ideas;
  • Maki varieties; and modern flavored handrolls.

Additionally, each lecture comes with recipe cards that allow learners to practice while they watch – as well as related follow-up recipes to reinforce their learning. Finally, Chef Niki provides tips on production efficiency, temperature control and thoughtful shortcuts that she has learned over her years of cooking professionally.

Whether you’re an aspiring chef looking to kick-start your career or just a home cook looking to add some excitement to your dinner table, Chef Niki’s MasterClass promises you a unique culinary experience guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.

Niki Nakayama’s Background

Niki Nakayama is a Japanese-American chef who began her career with an apprenticeship in Japan. After spending time learning the fundamentals of Japanese cuisine in the traditional style, she moved on to train and develop cutting edge styles with top chefs around the world. Niki eventually returned to Los Angeles, where she opened her first restaurant, n/naka. While there, she was awarded both a Michelin star and National Chef of the Year by James Beard Foundation. Niki strives to make classic dishes that mix traditional flavors and modern techniques, and this expertise has made her an excellent teacher in her recently released MasterClass.

In Niki’s MasterClass, she begins by introducing viewers to the basics of Japanese cooking. She covers topics like picking out ingredients and understanding dry goods like soy sauce and miso paste, as well as teaching viewers how to prepare popular dishes like ramen and tempura. In addition to discussing flavors, textures, presentation tips and tricks of the trade, Nakayama provides detailed explanations on common culinary practices such as roasting vegetables over charcoal or gently poaching seafood for sushi rolls. Her approachable yet professional manner engages students with her stories from working in kitchens around the world while showing them how these lessons can be applied to their own recipes at home. She truly brings an expert’s eye for detail that is unmatched among other culinary instructors available today on streaming services such as MasterClass.

Overview of the MasterClass

Niki Nakayama’s MasterClass offers an in-depth exploration of Japanese cuisine, blending traditional Japanese fare with California influences. This course will teach you the ins and outs of Niki’s creative use of ingredients, her approach to flavor, her tips and techniques for making restaurant-worthy recipes at home, and how to prepare a wide range of dishes.

The class consists of 24 classes and over 6 hours of video content from Niki. Every video lesson within this course is meant to provide step-by-step instructions as well as demos and examples from Niki about concepts like knife skills, preparation methods for fish and vegetable cutting, utilizing aromatics like citrus, ginger, yuzu kosho or bonito flakes to add flavor; crafting sushi rolls; constructing makis; creating sushi rice; battering tempura; making confit vegetables and fish stocks. Additionally she provides tips on unique ways to finish dishes for added richness.

Niki also offers direct feedback on mistakes that you may commonly make when cooking Japanese food and provides her expert advice on approaches with which you can master the fundamentals before taking a stab at more advanced recipes. With bonus recipes that are provided at the end of each lesson lessons titled “Shareable Recipes” which are designed specifically so you can share your efforts with friends or family. Finally these classes include insights into how Niki has turned herself into an internationally renowned chef by giving an honest portrayal of decisions made throughout her illustrious career.

Pros and Cons

Niki Nakayama is a celebrated chef with an impressive range of expertise and experience. Her MasterClass on Japanese cuisine has recently been released and provides knowledgeable insight for anyone wanting to explore the flavors of Japan. While the course does provide excellent instruction, there are some pros and cons to consider before joining.


  • The course is an in-depth look into Japanese cooking techniques, offering demonstrations from preparation to plating.
  • Niki also talks about unique ingredients, regional styles, sushi etiquette, and omakase restaurant philosophies, as well as lots of tips on how to bring the flavors out of each dish.
  • A thirty page workbook accompanies the course. It includes bonus videos that expand on certain topics as well as over 90 recipes – enabling you to develop your own creations.
  • The course is open to any level of experience in cooking or knowledge in Japanese cuisine – so it’s perfect for both novices and experienced cooks alike.


  • The course is divided into 4 sections but there’s no option to do them sequentially or customize your program based on what you wish to learn first/last etc., meaning you may find yourself jumping around between different levels of expertise in each section which can be overwhelming.
  • There are few demonstration videos – mostly only lessons given through slideshows – making it difficult for visual learners or those without any prior knowledge base in the cuisine to understand the techniques being taught clearly enough without additional research offline.

My Personal Experience

I chose Niki Nakayama’s MasterClass for Japanese Cooking for several reasons, which I will explain. It was dark outside when I decided to join her class because I had my mind set on improving my knowledge of traditional Japanese cuisine and its core techniques. It was a bold move on my part because I not only wanted to appreciate food more but also break out of a comfort zone.

Upon beginning the course, I was introduced to Niki’s younger days and the start of her cooking journey as she walks us through her first restaurant kitchen experience as a young adult where she perfected the basics and discovered regional ingredients throughout Japan. Every instructor has their own style, but it was clear that Niki has a deep love and appreciation for simple ingredients while still utilizing complex techniques throughout her recipes.

With every lesson there is an open invitation to ask her questions directly which allows you the opportunity to discuss personalized advice if needed. She includes cooking tools along with substitutions if you do not have access to specific items based upon your area or country. Her intuitive approach towards Asia-driven flavors is what has inspired so many experts in the industry – myself being one of them – as a student in cheerful awe every single time there is something new to learn from her lessons both virtually or from life itself.

Tips for Making the Most of the Course

Taking a MasterClass is an incredible opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in the field. In Niki Nakayama’s World-Class Japanese Cooking course, home cooks are given the tools and techniques needed to master traditional Japanese cooking techniques. To help you take full advantage of this course, here are some tips for making the most out of your experience:

  • Start with the Basics – If you are new to Japanese cuisine, Nakayama takes great care to teach her students important basics such as knife skills, ingredient selection and flavor profiles. She has provided clear recipes and detailed steps so you can create restaurant-quality dishes from your own home. With her guidance, start by learning the fundamentals before branching out into more complicated recipes.
  • Prep Your Ingredients – Preparing ingredients ahead of time is a key part of Chef Nakayama’s cooking process. This allows for a more intuitive understanding of how flavors come together and gives she cooks more control over their dishes. Take this lesson seriously in your own kitchen – set aside some time before each meal prep session to properly prepare all necessary ingredients so they will be ready when your meal begins.
  • Pay Attention to Technique – Chef Nakayama demonstrates many traditional Japanese culinary preparations throughout her lessons, including sushi rolling and knife work as well as other methods such as broiler searing or dipping sauces. Pay close attention during these demonstrations so that you can apply these same methods in your own cooking for successful outcomes every time!
  • Don’t Fear Making Mistakes – Making mistakes is part of learning! Through trial and error (and practice), you will learn how different flavors interact with each other and develop a recipe style that works best for you personally. Embrace any mistakes made along the way – they are part of how we discover what works best for us in our kitchens!

Final Thoughts

The Niki Nakayama MasterClass provides aspiring chefs with an in-depth look at the processes and techniques that make her one of the most acclaimed Japanese-style chefs. While this is not a beginner class, participants will be able to modulate their recipes to their skill level and create some stellar dishes that will wow their family and friends.

Niki does an excellent job of breaking down complex techniques into manageable pieces for the home cook. Her approach centers around entertaining guests with full vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, thoughtful presentation using delicate seasonal items, and careful attention to timing and temperature in order to get the most out of each dish. She also provides helpful tricks so that you can keep up your momentum while you’re busy in the kitchen.

Overall, this is a great value for those who want to master modern sushi making paired with intricate omakase presentations. Not only do you receive instruction from a celebrated chef but you also have access to her personal collection of tips, guidance on planning a meal (from ingredients to table settings), culinary resources including suppliers and equipment, plus bonus video lessons on:

  • Sashimi
  • Shabu shabu
  • Mochi ice cream making


In conclusion, the Niki Nakayama MasterClass provides an entertaining and informative experience for anyone interested in learning how to cook like an acclaimed chef. Niki takes viewers through a comprehensive journey, demonstrating technique and offering insight into her creative processes. From mastering traditional Japanese dishes to creating inventive montages of flavors, Niki’s MasterClass will give you the knowledge and confidence needed to cook with creativity and flair.

If you’re looking for a unique cooking class experience with an attention-to-detail approach that only Niki Wakayama can deliver, this one’s for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is included in the Niki Nakayama MasterClass?

A: The Niki Nakayama MasterClass includes 10 lessons that cover topics ranging from knife skills, fish butchery, and preparation to cooking techniques and plating. It also includes a guide to essential ingredients and a bonus video on how to make dashi.

Q: What is the cost of the Niki Nakayama MasterClass?

A: The cost of the Niki Nakayama MasterClass is $90.

Q: What is the time commitment for the Niki Nakayama MasterClass?

A: The Niki Nakayama MasterClass takes around 10 hours to complete, depending on how quickly you progress through the lessons.

Mike Samuels
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