Hiroko Sugiyama was born and raised in Kobe, Japan. Hiroko has been interested in food since she was in elementary school. Her parents introduced her to wonderful home meals, various gourmet foods and restaurants, and she became interested in recreating those tastes. Her passion for cooking grew and later she studied culinary arts in Japan (private teachers such as Chef Ishihara, renowned Kaiseki teacher, Chef Tsuji), United States (Home Chef, CIA), France (La Varenne, Ritz-Escoffier, Cordon Blue), Thailand (The Thai Cooking School at the Oriental), Indonesia (Executive Chef of Alila in Bali), and traveled to 26 countries and learned wonderful foods of the world.
Her teaching career began in San Francisco in 1981 at The Home Chef Cooking School, where she was trained by The Home Chef founder, Judith Ets-Hokin and got teacher's certificate in 1985. Since 1991 Hiroko has directed her own cooking school, Hiroko Sugiyama Culinary Atelier in Sammamish, Washington.
As an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and a designated CCP (Certified Culinary Professional), she frequently travels around the world, aggressively explores new food trends, and is often invited to teach while on location.
In addtion to her own kitchen studio, Hiroko taught as a guest instructor at Blue Ribbon Cooking School (Seattle), Dish it Up (Seattle), Chef's Kitchen (Edmond), J. Matheson (Everett), Seattle Yacht Club, Floating Tea Leaves (Seattle), and also taught professional chefs at IACP conferences. Her passion for food and life translate into creative, inspired fun food and classes, wherever she finds herself teaching. She has taught AIWF in Paris, Michelin star chefs in Provence, magazine editors in London, Tea ceremony in Sydney and Auckland, etc.
Since 2002, Hiroko has been teaching "Chakaiseki," the formal meal served for the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Her highly successful Chakaiseki class has been featured by both local and international media. Hiroko also has taught children at summer cooking camps at Blue Ribbon for many years.
Hiroko loves sailing on her beautiful wooden boat, DOLLY made by John Guzzwell who is one of the most respected sailors in Northwest, circumnavigated by his own made Trekka (1955-1959) and recorded in Guinness book. In 2008, she obtained official U.S. Coast Guard OUPB Captain's license. Now she also teaches sailing. She offers lunch cruise for a fun sailing class during the summer.
In July 2017, Hiroko launched Hallberg-Rassy 310, named Grande Dolly in Sweden. Immediately, she set sail on her maiden cruise from Hallberg-Rassy boat yard in Ellos cruising West Coast of Sweden to Denmark, taking three days break in Copenhagen, then up to East Coast till Sandhamn for 3 weeks. Grande Dolly was shipped to Seattle that fall and has been moored at Elliott bay marina. Hiroko cruised/raced Puget sound and Canada on Grande Dolly and got numerous awards winning 1st and 2nd places in last two years (2021 & 2022).
HIroko is a MASTER of the Japanese tea ceremony (her tea name - SOYO) as well as calligraphy, pottery and Japanese art. She also loves swimming and tennis. Her life style is well rounded. She enjoys arts, music, sports, travels and people.
Sailing Juan de Fuca