Byron High School students learn about Japanese culture and history through food

(ABC 6 NEWS) – On Tuesday, students at Byron High School got a chance to learn from a chef who knows all about making Japanese food.

John Sugimura is a Second-Generation Japanese Chef who travels the country sharing how to make Japanese cuisine.

He taught students in Byron’s Creative Foods class how to make gyoza.

"This is a 100 plus year recipe this is my grandma’s recipe," Second-Generation Japanese Chef, John Sugimura said.

With each class he teaches, he shares the history of how his grandmother had a successful female-run Japanese restaurant in the late 1920s, he said that was unheard of at that time.

Sugimura also shared how his grandmother and other family members were sent to Japanese internment camps in the 1940s.

"It was just really cool about the way he let us learn about his grandma and everything" Byron High School Junior, Mia Borowski said.

He said through his food he can continue sharing Japanese-American history.

"The magic of Japanese cuisine, the story, the interesting ingredients, engaging the students, expanding the world past their driveway is why we are doing it," Sugimura said.

The students had a chance to cook with Sugimura from how to cook the gyozas to plating them.

"I thought it was really cool just like how he is able to help us understand like how he makes it rather than how we would get it at a restaurant or something like that and just like what makes the recipe special," Borowski said.

Sugimura said as he has shared his culture and family’s history with food it works every time.

"It’s about social competence in the world. Expanding the world to have more exposure to new and interesting things, to challenge them on what their thoughts and beliefs are," Sugimura said.

On Thursday, Sugimura will cook Japanese fried chicken rice bowls for lunch for all of Byron High School.