In this 1996 feature, called “A Japanese Picnic,” chef Daryle Ryo Nagata says he grew up eating his grandma’s cooking: “Japanese versions of western things.” It’s a menu that rings true for many children and grandchildren of immigrants. 

japanese picnic
Credit: John Sinal/Western Living Summer 1996

Chef Nagata’s al fresco dinner in Stanley Park, circa 1996—with some help from his son Brendan, of course. The menu includes chicken yakitori and somen noodles.

Reinvention and international influence not only makes food good—it makes it fun. After going through Chef Nagata’s accolades (the Savoy in London, La Reserve in Geneva, the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa), this story focuses on the recipes he crafted for WL: you guessed it, a Japanese picnic. The delicious but low-key lunch that follows was made for sitting in the grass in Vancouver’s Stanley Park with family—starting new traditions that blend with the old, and making food that grandma would have loved.

For chef Daryle Ryo Nagata's chicken yakitori with teriyaki sauce recipe, click here.

japanese picnic
Credit: John Sinal/Western Living Summer 1996

Chicken yakitori with teriyaki sauce.

To read about more great people, designs, homes and innovations that shaped Western Living, click here.