The Chef: Naoko Tamura
Naoko Tamura was born in Tokyo in 1969. Born a premature baby, Naoko suffered from many health problems as an infant. But, she was able to recover and lead a normal life thanks to special care and attention from her mother. But when she began elementary school, she again became frequently ill, and her mother discovered that Naoko was reacting badly to school lunches. Her mother found out that the food served for school lunches was full of preservatives and other chemicals, and she successfully campaigned for healthier school meals.
This experience led Naoko’s mother to fully realize the benefits of natural foods for all of us, and she became a pioneer of organic food preparation in Japan, opening her first restaurant in Tokyo in 1976, and providing natural food consultation to hotels and other businesses as well as cafeteria management to companies who wanted their employees to have healthier diets, including HP Japan. As Naoko grew up, she became a key player in the family business and developed her own style of cooking with natural foods. In 1996 she co-authored the book “Organic Cooking” published in Japan.
In 2008, Naoko moved to Portland to open her first restaurant in America, the Chef Naoko Bento Café. Naoko is continuing the tradition of serving healthy food using natural and organic ingredients, as well as bringing her own unique Japanese style of cooking to the Pacific Northwest.