Meet THE TEAM

Mayumi Uejima-Carr serves as the Project Leader. She became the President of TABLE FOR TWO USA following work with Accenture and Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company and earning an MBA from Thunderbird. With TFT, she has developed a program to provide healthier school meals for children in the U.S. In doing so, she realized the need for a more structured food education program. She is a delegate to the US-Japan Leadership Program (2017-18).

Debra Samuels leads the program content and curriculum development. She is a food writer and contributor to the Food Section of The Boston Globe and has authored two cookbooks: “My Japanese Table,” and “The Korean Table.” She lived in Japan for 12 years cumulatively and specializes in Japanese cuisine. Currently she travels around the country teaching hands on workshops on bento, the Japanese lunchbox. 

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Merry White serves as an academic consultant for the program content and curriculum development. She is Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, specializing in food anthropology in Japan. Her most recent work, Coffee Life in Japan, has won several book prizes and she is the recipient of The Order of the Rising Sun, an Imperial award given by the Government of Japan. Currently she is studying food workers and their tools in Japan.

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Alexis Agliano Sanborn is the Program Coordinator. She specializes in Japanese school lunch and the relationship between food and country, and writes, researches, and presents on the subject. In June 2017 she traveled to Japan to begin a documentary project on the Japanese school lunch system. Meanwhile, she writes a food blog and is in the process of writing a cookbook.

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The Advisors

Masa Kogure is the Co-Founder of TABLE FOR TWO International. Author, Connecting the World With Twenty Yen, a guide to social entrepreneurship in Japan and globally. Formerly: Management Consultant, McKinsey & Company. Received World Service Medal 2014 from Kiwanis International, the Asian Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 by Schwab Foundation. 

Koji Otani is a Japanese language teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Washington DC. He has lived and taught Japanese in the Unietd States since 1992. His hobbies include cooking and taiko drumming. 

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Katsura Omori is a Professor at Yamagata University, Japan. Her classes include “Nutrition Education at School” and “Practical Nutrition Education,” and her research evaluates the effects of nutrition education, including theories and practical methods for effective nutrition education all over the world. 

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Chef Andy Matsuda owns the “Sushi Chef Institute” in Torrance, CA and has trained over 1,500 sushi chefs from all over the world. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation and works for the Japanese Department of Agriculture to promote Japanese food culture worldwide. He was chosen as one of “100 Japanese People the World Respects” in Newsweek.


The Instructors

Joshua Evan Schlachet is a third-year doctoral student in nineteenth-century Japanese cultural and culinary history. He is also accredited by the Culinary Institute of America.  

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Takako Taniwaki is a Japanese cooking class instructor based in Washington DC. She has taught classes at the Japan-America Society of Washington DC, Japanese Christian Community Center; and has been an onigiri instructor for TFT USA’s  “Change the World with onigiri” campaign.  She is about to launch “Harmonious Kitchen, LLC”, a Japanese home cooked meal service, in Washington DC.