A sushi chef turned business owner, creates a community through food.

Sharpening Your Skills

Medicine heals illness and bandages heal wounds, but food heals the soul. Food has become a way of life for Chef Ricky Yap. This was not the case 20 years ago, when Ricky was a school dropout and broke. He had no idea about cooking nor nutrition, but he always ate sushi. Sushi was delicious, beautiful, and approachable. It fascinated and inspired Chef Ricky to learn the art of making sushi. But he realized he learned more beyond the food, he learned the connection a sushi chef has with their patrons. Ricky realized that in order to be a proper sushi chef, he had to be clean, efficient, and personable. 

Sushi has taught Ricky that cooking is more than just food, but rather an art. Food is an art for all five senses:

Smell: Smelling the ingredients being incorporated within a dish. 

Touch: The texture of the food. 

Sight: Seeing the food being made in front of them. 

Sound: Hearing the knife against the cutting board. 

Taste: Tasting the combination of flavors

Plato famously wrote “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This has rung true for Chef Ricky Yap and his business partner Chris Lombardi in the beginning of the pandemic. Chefs and kitchen staff were being laid off; restaurants were going out of business; and people were stuck at home. Chef Ricky’s entire livelihood was gone. However, people started calling him asking how to work in a kitchen. He would provide them with YouTube videos and written directions. Chef Ricky and Chris realized that people wanted to learn how to properly cook for themselves and for their family. They thought of Homeskool’d would fill the need. It was a simple idea, Chef Ricky and Chris would provide the ingredients to dishes and they would teach people on zoom to cook. The participants cooked together on Zoom, which provided a wonderful community during quarantine. 

The Goldilocks Zone of Mochi: Instructions for Perfect Mochi Consistency & Texture

After painstaking trial and error spanning 30+ batches, three years, and three separate mochitsuki’s, we’ve compiled the essential notes for the “Goldilocks” zone of mochi consistency and texture: think not too hard, not too soft… just right. 


When Tragedy Strikes in Nonprofit Work

Strengthening capacity to navigate tragedy and support wellness in nonprofit work. Read until the end for philanthropy's role in supporting nonprofit workers.


Saishin Dojo: Continuing Culture

“Say ‘hashi’ and not ‘chopstick.’ Say ‘kaikan’ instead of ‘social hall.’” Rev. Mas explained to us how adults ask questions, and want to know the exact meaning of everything, but the kids will pick it up. It’s the way we all learned. 


Capturing Our History - Zentoku

The Zentoku Foundation's mission is to be valued as an organization focused on strengthening the Japanese American culture for future generations.