Photo by Nick Sebastian
My journey with TOIRO started with just one donabe, Kamado-san rice cooker and my passion to introduce this amazing donabe in the US on August 27, 2008.
As a native of Tokyo, Japan, I not only have grown up eating rice, but also have developed a palate to appreciate the best quality Japanese and international cuisines thanks to my parents. When I first tasted the rice made by this double-lid donabe rice cooker, Kamado-san from Iga, Japan back in 2007, I was blown away! It was no doubt the best quality rice I had ever tasted and didn’t even need any condiments because it was just so delicious as itself. The rice made in Kamado-san was so shiny and fluffy, and it was so easy to prepare. It tasted better than any rice cooked with any kinds of rice cooking tools I had ever tried. So, I contacted Nagatani-en, our relationship was established immediately, and I started importing only a few pieces of Kamado-san at a time in 2008. I built the website myself just to sell this one product, and sold out of my house in LA.
Without any advertisement, just by word of mouth and cooking classes in my tiny home kitchen, everything grew organically. My passion for donabe has grown even bigger, and I continued to increase the lineup of the donabe products in the next years. I also kept being active doing donabe cooking classes and events in order to spread donabe cooking in LA and other cities. In 2015, after years of planning and 3 years of production, I published a book, DONABE (Ten Speed Press). This book was the first English language book dedicated to the subject and the book received many accolades by media including San Francisco Chronicle (The Top Cookbooks of 2015) and organizations including IACP (DONABE was a Finalist for IACP - International Association of Culinary Professionals 2016 Cookbook Awards in the International Category).
On October 10, 2017, my first brick-and-mortar shop, TOIRO, finally opened its door in West Hollywood, LA! The shop features so many different kinds of authentic Iga-yaki donabe and pottery products by Nagatani-en, and also a wide variety of artisanal kitchen tools, tableware, and food items, personally selected by myself, from all over Japan. We also offer cooking classes and events. This shop is a wonderland of unique and specially crafted items and is where you can come visit not just to shop but also to enjoy learning about donabe cooking and Japanese food culture. Concurrently, TOIRO's website has grown to offer the same wide selection of products plus many more recipes of donabe and Japanese home-style dishes.
All our donabe and Iga-yaki products are handmade by Nagatani-en (established in 1832) in Iga, Japan. These artisanal earthenware products are loved by both professional chefs and home cooks. TOIRO is the official US representative of Nagatani-en, and we are also committed to bring many other hand-selected artisanal products from all over Japan. Our mission is to spread the wonderful Japanese food culture and healthy lifestyle through donabe and Japanese home cooking, and we hope to share the joy of quality home cooking. I will continue this exciting journey with TOIRO with all my passion.
Thank you for your support for Iga-yaki donabe and healthy donabe lifestyle.
Naoko Takei Moore (a.k.a. Mrs. Donabe)
Happy Donabe Life.
Owner of TOIRO
Naoko has been living in Los Angeles, California since 2001. She is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Program at California School of Culinary Arts. She also has a Wine Expert certificate by Japan Sommelier Association. Naoko has the healthy passion for good food and wine.
Some of the articles about Naoko/ TOIRO
Our donabe are also loved by top chefs and restaurants in the US and beyond. These are among the restaurants that support our authentic Iga-yaki donabe and other artisanal tableware we offer in the US.
Single Thread Farms (Healdsburg, CA)
Otium (Los Angeles, CA)
State Bird Provisions/ The Progress (San Francisco, CA)
Orsa & Winston (Los Angeles, CA)
Somni (Los Angles, CA)
Providence (Los Angeles, CA)
Republique (Los Angeles, CA)
MTN (Venice, CA)
Ardent (Milwaukee, WI)
Rintaro (San Francisco, CA)
Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
Alimento (Los Angeles, CA)
Meadowood (Napa, CA)
Spago Beverly Hills (Los Angeles, CA)
Tsubaki (Los Angeles, CA)
n/naka (Los Angeles, CA)
1257 N La Brea Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90038
Hours: Tue - Sun 11 am - 6 pm (Closed on Mondays)