Japanese Relief Fundraiser

April 4, 2011 9:41:38 AM PDT
You can help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan by going out to dinner.


Yoshi's Cafe to Host Spectacular Gourmet Dinner to Raise Funds for Japanese Relief

Yoshi and Nobuko Katsumura have lived in Chicago for more than 30 years, thousands of miles away from their native Japan.

However, the acclaimed and longtime proprietors of Yoshi's Cafe have kept close ties to family and friends back in the island nation.

So when the historic earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, the couple burned up the phone lines, emailed and texted for days, until they tracked down all of their loved ones. They are all safe, but after hearing the stories of tragedy and loss in their homeland, the Katsumuras are hosting a very special Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fundraising Dinner on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

Nobuko Katsumura was born in Morioka City, just north of Sendai. Sendai was slammed by both natural disasters. Yoshi Katsumura is from an area near Mito City, outside Tokyo. He attended high school in coastal Ooarai, where the Tsunami first hit.

A close friend of Nobuko lived in the town of Ishinomaki, which was virtually washed away. "We could not locate her and her husband for five days. We finally found her in a shelter," Nobuko recalls. "They still do not have anything--water, food, clothes or blankets."

Others have not been as lucky. "So many people lost their houses, they lost their families. So many dead. When we saw the news, we knew we had to help," Yoshi said.

The culinary duo is planning a spectacular, Japanese-influenced menu, including a Kaiseki-style appetizer of duck liver mousse pate, fresh asparagus wrapped in wagyu beef, sushi and shrimp cocktail.

Also on the menu: a sumptuous grilled Loup De Mer snapper served on a bed of sauteed brussel sprouts and grapefruit segments; and grilled prime Allen Brothers sirloin steak with Au Poivre or red wine sauce.

Diners will be entertained with live music, a Japanese dance performance by Fujima Ryu of Chicago, a brief welcome by the Katsumuras, and a silent auction. The dinner is generously sponsored by the law firm Masuda Funai.

The Katsumuras were in their 20s when they first came to the United States; Yoshi arrived in 1972, Nobuko in 1975. They opened Yoshi's Cafe in 1982, and the restaurant has been celebrated by peers and critics ever since. This November Yoshi's will celebrate its 29th anniversary, a rare feat for any restaurant.

Yoshi Katsumura has been named one of America's Outstanding Chefs by Grand Master Chefs of America. The restaurant has been honored as one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America.

"Yoshi's colorful and tempting dishes are as eye-appealing as a Dutch still life," said Gourmet magazine.

There will be one seating at 7 pm; dinner is $125.00 per person, excluding beverage, tax and gratuity. 100 percent of the net proceeds will be donated to Peace Winds Japan, a 501(c)(3) disaster preparedness and response organization focusing on relief operations in Tohoku, Japan.

Yoshi's Cafe is located at 3257 N. Halsted Street. Valet and street parking are available.

For more information, call Nobuko Katsumura at 773-248-6160.

Yoshi's Cafe
3257 N. Halsted Street
Dinner: $125 per person
Net Proceeds given to Peace Winds Japan