2017 / Mini-fundraising dinner of “Far East Feast” is planned for non-profit theater company Grateful Crane Ensemble, May 20

Chef John Nishio, left, and Soji Kashiwagi of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

The Grateful Crane Ensemble, non-profit theater company about Japanese American history, will hold a mini-fundraising dinner at a chef’s residence in Pasadena on Saturday, May 20 from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Local Japanese Americans who remember Chinameshi (Chinese food) from the old Far East Café in Little Tokyo can once again savor the flavors of chowmein, pakkai and homyu at the Far East Feast which will be planned for the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

Like many Nikkei or Japanese American who miss the flavors of the old Far East, Chef John Nishio, a Sansei from Pasadena who has fond childhood memories of Botan rice candy and grumpy waiters wearing greasy aprons, has been looking up and down California, across the country and around the world for something close to Far East food, but with little luck.

That’s when he decided to re-create the flavors of the Far East himself.

“The Far East Feast is our fun, nostalgic and delicious look-back at the Japanese American tradition of eating Chinameshi,” said Soji Kashiwagi, Executive Producer of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

Along with a nine-course dinner, the evening includes a tour of John Nishio’s backyard Japanese garden, a viewing of a Japanese American historical video produced by Nishio, and entertainment provided by Grateful Crane singers and musical director Scott Nagatani.

“Flavors from the past can take people back to a very special place, and for many in our community that place was the Far East Café,” said Kashiwagi.  “Our dinner is a fun way to go back there one more time.”

“Far East Feast” prepared by Chef John Nishio.

Tickets for the Far East Feast are $125 per person.  Seating is limited to the first 16 people.

For information and reservations, call the Grateful Crane hotline at (310) 995-5841.