Hands-on experience will stay in your memory. For spreading the power of food to a wider community
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
We are what we eat.
By controlling what you eat, you can not only gain or lose weight, but also improve your sports performance or even your brain functions.
Ms. Chizuru Furuya, who is a manager of “Marusa Marche Cooking Studio”, had an experience when she was in high school where she realized how what you eat clearly affects your physical condition (athletic performance). She’s been captivated by the power of food ever since.
Thereafter Ms. Furuya went to a vocational college and became a qualified dietitian. After working at a hospital and other places managing meals, she started to think “I want to spread the charms of food, which is so close to us, to a wider community” and opened “Marusa Marche Cooking Studio”.
The unique characteristic of the said cooking studio is that it is a “hands-on experience based” place. It’s fun because you learn something new and it becomes an unforgettable memory because you learn through a hands-on experience. What Ms. Furuya offers is a new type of activity that is unique to a farming kingdom, Yamanashi.
he is a dietitian as well as a health fitness instructor. Her own food experiences led her to immerse herself in the world of food and she’s even experienced fasting in the past. Ms. Furuya contributes her energy to the food related activities to vitalize the community by creating recipes for her cooking studio, developing food products and so on.
The power of food you learn thorough a hands-on experience
“Marusa Marche Cooking Studio” is located along National Route 20. The said cooking studio offers a various kinds of activities and services including fruit picking (peaches, grapes etc.), cooking with fruit and vegetables harvested there, cafe, sale of local produce and food products. It’s a place packed with all the charms of Yamanashi’s food culture.
“I wanted to make this studio a place where you can have an enjoyable food experience that is unique to Yamanashi”, says Ms. Furuya. “Marusa Marche Cooking Studio” opened its doors in July 2012 as an “experience based cafe” that offers food education through a hands-on experience.
“I was in high school when I was first moved by food. I had a dream of becoming a dietitian then. I read this book on nutrition and I changed my diet then my athletic performance improved outstandingly.”
Ms. Furuya belonged to her high school’s volleyball team and she was putting herself into the club activity back then. She tells us that she felt such a difference in her physical condition and performance when she played a game following a new diet called “Carbohydrate loading”.
“You are what you eat, you know and your physical condition changes dramatically depending on the way you eat. The more I learned, the more interesting I found it to be and I started to think that I wanted many more people to experience the fun and moving moments that food gives you.”
A difficulty of having a new style to take root
Ms. Furuya’s cooking studio offers a new style of service, which is to sell “experience” not products.
“When I opened this place, my friends and family all seemed worried like ‘What on earth are you starting?’, says Ms. Furuya with a bitter smile. “The reason why I’m particular about this being “experience-based” comes from the moving experience I’ve personally had in the past, and the reason why I decided to offer those activities is because I thought they will be more likely to stay in your memory.”
Marusa Marche Cooking Studio offers a large variety of “experiences”. They offer relatively easy and simple sweet dish making experiences including “Full of fruit parfait making experience” which uses seasonal fruit, “fluffy pancake making experience”, “Fruit dressing making experience” and “Tart making experience”. They also have “Jam/Compote making experience” and “Pizza making experience” which use vegetables and fruit harvested there. Furthermore, they offer “Hoto making experience”, where you can make one of Yamanashi’s local specialty foods.
“As for tourists who visit here, I’d like them to see the charms of Yamanashi’s food”, says Ms. Furuya. By seeing, learning and touching the food… You can enjoy this activity sensuously and you also feel a sense of accomplishment as you make your own food. Ms. Furuya’s cafe has attracted people of all ages and they visit with families, friends and so on. It’s also popular amongst tourists from overseas as a place where you can have a unique food experience.
“For our ‘sweet dish making experience’, we give you a menu to look at and you can choose what you want to make then and there. Then we give you the recipe so you can choose fruit, sauce, cooking utensils and so on and make the dish yourself. It’s not like we demonstrate how to make it and cook together with our customers, so I elaborated those recipes estimating customers’ actions.”
Although “experience-based” activities are very popular these days, it is a new style of activity where customers choose what they want to make on the spot.
“It is indeed difficult to start a new style and make it take root”, says Ms. Furuya with a laugh.
For promoting local food to the world
At Marusa Marche Cooking Studio, you can enjoy Fuefuki city’s new specialty food called “Raho”.
“The soup base for our ‘Raho’’ is made with salt and seafood. Another characteristic of our raho is that it’s full of vegetables. It also has a various kinds of toppings such as a Japanese condiment called taberu rayu (chili oil), sesame oil, ground sesame seeds and so on so you can enjoy a lot of different flavors.”
Ms. Furuya’s raho looks luxurious and it has a gentle aroma. The flavor of the soup is absorbed well into the vegetables and they all taste delicious. It also gives you different flavors to enjoy as you mix in different toppings and you finish it all before you know it.
“Mostly visitors from other prefectures order this dish but I’d also like the locals to try this at least once. In order to make raho spread and recognized widely as a new local specialty food, I think it’s important to increase the number of restaurants that serve the dish. This dish is something that I’d like to nurture with everyone in the community.”
Ms. Furuya’s cooking studio functions as a cafe but they also sell food products made with fruit including jams, dressings, vinegar, and compote.
“After I opened this place, I realized a large amount of fruit was being thrown away and I wanted to make something out of it instead of wasting it. Then I created ‘fruit dressing’. We use fruit such as plums that are only produced for pollination and persimmons that are left on the trees being over ripe. We make them into paste and season it simply with olive oil, herb salt and so on. Fruit dressings have vibrant colors so I recommend them as souvenirs as well. It gives you a feeling like you’re eating fruit.”
Marusa Marche Cooking Studio uses all the local delicious produce and gives you an unforgettable experience. There might be a life-changing food experience waiting for you here…
＼Let's go see Ms. Furuya／
Store： Marusa Marche Cooking Studio
Address： 238 Sueki, Ichimiya-cho, Fuefuki city
Opening hours： 9：00～17：00