Bentos and Musubi: Beautiful Lunch Boxes

Kitchen Arts

Bentos and Musubi: Beautiful Lunch Boxes

Build two styles of bento boxes as you master teriyaki, omelet rolling, and secrets to artful ingredients.

Meeting Times
  1. Thur, 2/15/2024 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Thur, 2/15/2024


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All Levels, Class

Kitchen Arts Studio

Baking, Cooking, Kitchen Skills, Baking, Cooking, Kitchen Skills


Is there a more exciting lunch than a bento box? Whether you're packing lunches for school or work, for travel or picnics, a fully loaded bento is a box full of happiness. 

Together, we’ll incorporate the five Washoku cooking styles into a Shokado bento, which is often created as a miniature traditional kaiseki meal. This is an excellent introduction to Washoku cooking and its principles: 5 colors, 5 tastes, and 5 cooking methods. We will fry, simmer, steam, roast, and pickle. 

Proposed menu (changes with seasonal availability): 

  • Nama: (raw/cutting/pickling) carrot flowers, star radishes, spiral cucumbers, quick pickles
  • Niru: (simmering) chicken and daikon and spinach gomaae
  • Yaku: (grilling/roasting) beef or tofu teriyaki and rolled omelet and sweet potato
  • Musu: (steaming) rice
  • Ageru: (deep-frying) lotus root and kabocha winter squash

This class begins at lunchtime, so we’ll start immediately by making a quick lunch of onigirazu, a delicious and fun twist on a sandwich. If origami and sushi had a love child, it would be this. 

Then we’ll build our bentos. There’s a little science to it: We’ll explore time-tested designs and ingredient ratios. We’ll learn which foods travel well, and how to keep them healthy and tasty at room temperature. There’s a lot of art to it: We’ll play with an assortment of musubi rice molds and vegetable shape cutters. We’ll flavor and decorate them guided by color, taste, and texture – and fun. We'll create two bento boxes for you to take home. 

The skills you’ll practice:

  • How to teriyaki – skillet teriyaki 
  • How to tamagoyaki – roll an omelet
  • How to onigirazu – a rice sandwich to go
  • How to furoshiki – carry your bento home in style

You’ll gain a deeper understanding of Washoku, the ancient Japanese food traditions that make meal preparation fun as well as transformative for your health.


You'll create two bento boxes in different styles to take home:

  • Shokado style, with six compartments filled with an assortment of musubi, teriyaki salmon, rolled omelet and vegetable sides. You’ll incorporate the five traditional Washoku cooking styles.
  • Traditional beef teriyaki bento for which we'll use techniques for artful, free-form bento building. You'll whip up a classic teriyaki sauce from a family recipe that's both versatile and delicious. Vegetarian option: tofu.


A materials fee of $30, included in the cost of the class, covers everything you need: bento ingredients, two styles of Japanese disposable bento boxes with lids, mini condiment containers, and a furoshiki for wrapping.

Class Policies

  • Ages 14 and up are welcome.
  • You must wear closed-toe shoes to class.
  • You must be registered for the class (no drop-ins).

BARN Policies

Instructors or Guides

Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz

Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz teaches the principles of traditional Japanese cooking and how they can be applied to make our everyday meals — whatever the cuisine — healthier and delicious. She is a recipe developer for Providence Heart Institute and a washoku culinary health coach. She has run a test kitchen working with international chefs to prepare their recipes for online cooking classes with American home cooks. She has certificates from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Harvard’s CHEF coaching program. Website:

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