Just One Cookbook (JOC) was created by Namiko Hirasawa Chen (Nami) in 2011 with a focus on authentic and modern Japanese recipes.
The website is not only a one-stop-shop for every home cook who wants to create inspiring Japanese meals, it also takes readers a closer look into Japan itself through cultural and travel guides around the country.
Whether you’re passionate about Japanese cuisine or simply looking to expand your skills in the kitchen and try something new, you will find Just One Cookbook to be a fascinating and reliable window into Japanese cooking and culture.
Just One Cookbook was the finalist for the 2017 SAVEUR Blog Awards in the Best Food Video category and has been featured on The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Japan Times, and The New Yorker.
Meet Nami & Mr. JOC
Namiko Hirasawa Chen (Nami)
Nami is the home cook, recipe developer, world traveler, and inspiration behind Just One Cookbook.
Nami was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, and came to California as a foreign student when she was 20 years old. She loved studying geography and geology and worked at a digital map company where she met her Taiwanese-American husband (Mr. JOC).
Nami learned cooking at a young age from her mother who prepared home cooked meals daily. She was in the kitchen with her mom almost every evening, learning how to prepare ingredients and master techniques specific to each dish.
She believes any home cook can recreate the authentic Japanese dishes she loves so much, and it’s her goal to make them as simple and accessible as possible for her readers. Through step-by-step guidance and easy-to-follow videos, Nami gives readers the knowledge and inspiration they need to cook with confidence and discover a whole world of delicious food and culture.
All the recipes found on this site have been created and photographed by her.
Reese Lee, Marketing Manager & Contributing Writer
Originally from the tropical island of Penang, Malaysia, Reese now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their little boy. She previously worked on UNESCO Heritage projects in Penang in the areas of performing arts, history, and arts education. Growing up in a richly diverse culture has allowed her to express her work with unique perspectives. She has taught Modern Asian Cooking classes at the local co-ops and community eds. In her free time, Reese enjoys spending time with her family, dancing, listening to podcasts, and reading up on wellness and design.
Kayoko Hirata Paku, Contributing Writer
Kayoko is a freelance food writer, translator, and full-time bagel person. She grew up in Japan and the U.S. and has been living in her hometown of Tokyo upon graduating from college. She’s been with the JOC team since 2016 while working at the Japanese recipe company Cookpad, then quit to study at Hattori Nutrition College for formal education in food and cooking. While she doesn’t work in the kitchens nowadays, she’s happier reading about Japanese food culture and failing to tend to her sough dough starter. She resides in Tokyo with her PB-addicted husband, a very hungry toddler, and many half-dead plants.
Naomi, Community Manager
Growing up in the Shikoku region, Naomi experienced firsthand the integral connection of the sea to Japanese cooking. She would join her mother and grandmother to gather seaweed at the beach, and then over the following weeks, help in the drying process until the seaweed was ready for the kitchen and into a variety of Japanese dishes. Her childhood of observing her family’s enjoyment of cooking-from-scratch gave her a strong affection for healthy cooking and traditional Japanese cuisine. She carried that experience and knowledge to her current home in the San Francisco Bay area, where in addition to cooking, she loves photography, travel, and dancing.
Morgan Pesce, Social Media Coordinator
Morgan grew up making Japanese food with her Dad and Grandma and it is one of her favorite cuisines to this day. She lives in Rhode Island where she works as a freelance travel writer, content creator, and social media coordinator. Whenever possible she loves to travel – visiting Japan to see her family in Tokyo & Kanagawa and spending time in Belize are two of her favorite trips to make. If she’s not traveling or working you can find her at home with her husband, three cats, and a pit bull. There she has an obscene amount of plants, does volunteer cat rescue work, and likes to bake vegan treats.
Janet Otsuki, Copy Editor
Janet is a freelance copy editor, content writer, and proofreader. Born and raised in California, she grew up watching her mom prepare both traditional Japanese cuisine and the American classics with loving care. This sparked her appreciation of home cooking and delicious food. Janet attended university in the San Francisco Bay Area and worked in corporate and marketing communications for several years. Now an empty nester, Janet resides with her husband and their much-adored senior dog in Southern California where she enjoys nature hikes, gardening, fiber arts, yoga, and home cooking. She also loves learning about history and culture and watching sumo tournaments.