Author of:
Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto
(Broadway, 2003)

In 1986 I moved to Japan to immerse myself in a country whose food, aesthetics, sense of design, and subtle elegance had long enchanted me. I chose Kyoto because my grandparents had fallen in love with the city and its gardens. I also knew the city was the sister city of Boston (small and historic like home), well-preserved (I’d see ancient architecture and customs, like locals wearing kimonos), and the birthplace of many art forms, including the tea ceremony, ikebana and kaiseki, a rare style of cooking I came to study. After I left Japan, I knew I had to write this book not only to unveil the culture’s many mysteries, but to share with the larger world the beauty of kaiseki, which is at risk of disappearing. Below is the opening paragraph on the book’s flap:

“Two years out of college and with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Victoria Riccardi left a boyfriend, a rent-controlled New York City apartment, and a plum job in advertising to move to Kyoto to study kaiseki, the exquisitely refined form of cooking that accompanies the formal Japanese tea ceremony. She arrived in Kyoto, a city she had dreamed about, but never seen, with two bags, an open-ended plane ticket, and the ability to speak only sushi-bar Japanese. She left a year later, having learned the language, the art of kaiseki, and what was truly important to her.”

The book, now in paperback, received the following distinctions:

2003 New York Times Notable Book
2003 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Best Asian Cuisine Book in English
Excerpted in, Best Food Writing 2003 (Marlowe & Company)


Contributer to:

The Story of Tea: A Cultural History & Drinking Guide
(Ten Speed Press, 2007)

Culinary Biographies (Yes Press Inc., 2006)

Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat (Delacorte Press, 2005)