SHIBA RAMEN OPENS WITH SCIENTIFIC PRECISION Two former chemists open Shiba Ramen in Emeryville Public Market

EMERYVILLE, CA –Emeryville Public Market’s newest resident, Shiba Ramen, is bringing authentic, traditional Japanese ramen in a fast casual setting to the Bay Area. The brainchild of two Harvard-trained PhD chemists and husband and wife team, Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura, Shiba Ramen serves over 250 bowls of scientifically flavorful ramen every day in its 400 square foot shop.

While Freed and Nakamura have always considered themselves ‘noodle enthusiasts,’ neither had any prior experience in the food industry. But Freed believes that ramen and chemistry are not so different, “the recipes are empirical in nature, just like developing experiments in the laboratory, and our understanding of chemistry made us confident we could do a ramen restaurant, even though we aren’t chefs,” said Freed. Seeing both a platform for their diverse interests and a business opportunity, the couple decided to take action. Nakamura enrolled in the prestigious Tokyo Ramen Academy of Japan to learn the art of ramen production. Nakamura grew up in Japan where there is a ramen shop on every corner. In Greater Tokyo alone, there are over 21,000 noodle restaurants and the average ramen eater consumers roughly 42.8 servings of ramen a year, so the task was both intriguing and culturally significant.

The food at Shiba Ramen is modeled after Japanese ramen shops where patrons come to nourish their bellies with comfort food without putting a huge dent in their wallets. The menu covers all aspects of ramen and is approachable for both the ramen novice and the ramen connoisseur alike, with a price to match (most dishes fall between $9.50 and $12). The most simple (yet satisfying) is the Clear with light, clear broth with bean sprouts, soft-boiled egg, pork chashu, bamboo shoots, green onions and microgreens. For plant-based eaters the broth is substituted with Soy Milk with bean sprouts, soft-boiled egg, grilled kabocha squash, bamboo shoots, corn and green onions. Each ramen is a traditional recipe made with scientific precision. The couple toured ramen shops in Japan with a salt-concentration meter to get a detailed understanding of the traditional product for purposes of their stateside product development.

The White Bird (aka toripaitan) is made with creamy chicken broth with bean sprouts, soft-boiled egg, pork or chicken chashu, bamboo shoots, green onions and shredded togarashi peppers. Found on many Japanese ramen menus, but rarely seen in American ramen shops is a Dry ramen (aka aburasoba), a brothless pork-flavored ramen with bean sprouts, soft-boiled egg, pork chashu, bamboo shoots, green onions and nori paper, ideal for take away diners. Every day features a rotation of four to five ramens, served along with sides like Shiba Wings, Nagoya-style fried sesame pepper chicken wings and Spicy Cucumber, Japanese cucumbers marinated in sesame oil and shichimi pepper. Shiba Ramen’s drink selection offers an exclusive Japanese and Bay Area curated selection such as a Tokyo Black porter, Sapporo Draft on tap and Hakutsuru Draft sake.

Every element, from the food to the façade was meticulously planned and executed by Freed and Nakamura as if they were working on a chemistry experiment. Even the traditional Japanese tile design on the front of the shop was hand laid by the couple. Like any good scientist, Freed documented his ramen journey from start to finish on his blog, Ramen Chemistry, which he plans to turn into a book. For more information on Shiba Ramen visit: www.shibaramen.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Gather Restaurant Executive Chef Charis Wahl/March 2016

Executive Chef Charis Wahl was the opening Sous Chef for Gather in Berkeley, California in 2009 and now heads up the restaurant's kitchen.

Most recently at The Advocate in Berkeley, Chef Wahl's professional experience also includes time at Rivoli Restaurant in Berkeley and Ozumo in Oakland. She has maintained the signature Gather approach of using seasonal, local, often organic ingredients and has also introduced new menu items. Her email address is HYPERLINK "charis@gatherrestaurant.com" charis@gatherrestaurant.com.

Acclaimed by customers and critics alike for its appeal to both omnivores and vegetarians, Gather has been designated a Michelin Bib Gourmand, named a Best New Restaurant in America by Esquire Magazine, and voted a Best California Restaurant in the Bay Area on SFgate.com (sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle).

Gather Restaurant is located adjacent to the David Brower Center at 2200 Oxford Street, at the corner of Allston, in Berkeley, California. The restaurant is open daily, for dinner from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m., for weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and for weekend brunch from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The website address is HYPERLINK "http://www.gatherrestaurant.com/" \t "_blank" www.gatherrestaurant.com and the telephone number is (510) 809-0400.