Akemi grew up in Osaka, Japan savouring her grandmother’s pork and chive dumplings or gyoza as the Japanese call them. Gyoza was her favourite thing to eat and her Grandmum would always make them for her as long as Akemi helped her. As a result, Akemi learnt what went into the perfect gyoza and how to form them by hand when she was just six years old.

When Akemi came to New Zealand in 2009 she started working as a kitchen hand at a vineyard in Matakana and in her own words she “somehow became a chef”. She has no formal training as a cook. Akemi first made gyoza for a wedding at the vineyard. The Head Chef loved them so much they became a regular feature on their menu. Fast forward a few years and Akemi’s Gyoza was born in 2016 selling first at Matakana Farmers’ Market.

Today she is a regular feature at the Mangawhai Tavern market on a Saturday and the Clevedon market on a Sunday. She also caters for events and in the summer features at 2 – 3 other food events a month. On an average, she sells anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 gyoza a week!

On our episode we talk about:

  • The difference between a Chinese dumpling and Japanese gyoza
  • Akemi’s journey of learning to make gyoza
  • Why Akemi loves being at farmers’ markets
  • How Akemi’s Gyoza evolved during the pandemic

Listen to the Podcast Here:

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Follow their journey on https://akemisgyoza.nz/