About

Good to see you! We are currently in the process of starting up our online cooking lesson concept here at The Kitchen Ninja’s Dojo. On this page we’d like to show you who we are and share our thoughts about the what, how and why of this site.

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Who are we?
How do we make our cooking lessons?
Why Kitchen Ninja?

Who are we?

The Kitchen Ninja’s Dojo is run by foodie couple Sara and Pauli. Two food-loving martial arts fans who believe cooking should be easy, fun and accessible to everyone.

Sara – Kitchen Ninja

I’m a personal trainer, athlete and foodie with a background in Independent film, theatre and Nordic-style roleplay events. I love to combine pragmatic solutions with a fun and creative approach. My first cookbook “Fantasy food” did this by combining practical, healthy recipes with a fun, creative context (fantastic fiction and live role-play/theatre).

I was taught to cook by my grandmother (a trained householder) and great grandmother (a professional cook) from 5 years of age. Since then, I have never stopped learning.

Find out more about me at my personal blog

Pauli – Graphics Ninja

Pauli has a degree in history and writing and is a highly talented graphic artist (he also makes kick-ass thai curries). For The Kitchen Ninja’s Dojo, Pauli does our art and camerawork.

Check out more of Pauli’s work at Pauli’s Drawing Journal.

All above images are copyright © Pauli Liestalo 2015 and may only be used with permission.

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How do we make our cooking lessons?

Producing the Kitchen Ninja Cooking Lessons takes a lot of work, but we love it! Here is a summary of the steps we go through to produce each lesson.

Step 1 – Research & Scripting

We always start with research when we build a new lesson. We want to know what our learners are looking for in a given topic and what they struggle with. Once we have some guidelines, we can start planning and designing the lesson.

Scripting involves both structuring the lesson (what will it contain?) and writing the video script (how do we show it?).

Timeframe Step 1 can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete, depending on the topic, it’s level of difficulty and its popularity.

Tools we use for this step:

  • Feedback from our readers and followers
  • Libre office Writer – part of the Libre Office Suite
  • Boardreader – Searches discussion forums throughout the internet and shows us what questions people ask and what needs they have
  • iSeek – High-end search engine that keeps your search results organised
  • Google – Everyone’s favorite search engine
  • Duckduckgo – A good alternative to Google. Doesn’t use Bubbling Technology, so it picks up things that don’t show up on Google.
  • Amazon Reviews – Shows us what people are missing from the products already provided by the market

Step 2 – Learning Materials

Once we are done with the scripting stage, we can start writing the lesson’s supporting materials, such as recipe and fact cards. If there is a need for additional learning materials, such as an interactive spreadsheet or check list, we make that too.

Timeframe Step 2 normally takes around 7-10 days, though it can take longer if a subject is particularly complicated or confusing.

Tools we use for this step:

  • Apple Pages or Scribus – Desktop publishing software
  • Pixabay – Stock image resource
  • GIMP – Image editor (similar to photoshop)
  • Inkscape – Vector graphics software (similar to illustrator)

Step 3 – Animation and/or additional art

It wouldn’t be The Kitchen Ninja’s Dojo without ninjas! We always take the time to make some ninja art or animation to go with the lesson.

Timeframe Step 3 can take as little as 1 day or as much as 2 weeks, depending on what is to be created, level of detail, render times, etc.

Tools we use for this step:

  • Blender – All-in-one 3D CGI, animation and video editing suite
  • Pixabay – stock image resource
  • Darktable – professional photo editor
  • GIMP – Image editor (similar to photoshop)
  • Inkscape – Vector graphics software (similar to illustrator)

Step 4 – Recording

We record in our own kitchen using a set of good cameras and, when needed, audio equipment. We don’t use studio lights, so all our lighting is a combination of ceiling lights and natural lighting.

Because we depend on natural lighting, this stage can sometimes take quite a long time when the weather is unfavourable.

Timeframe Step 4 usually takes 1-3 days. It takes longer if we have to re-shoot or the weather is bad and we have trouble getting the lighting right.

Tools we use for this step:

Step 5 – Editing and Post-production

This is one of the most challenging steps. We need to get the video looking good, match it to good audio and get everything down to below 10 minutes per video. That’s easier said than done!

Timeframe Step 5 usually takes 3-7 days. However, it can take longer if we have a lot of footage to work through, need to do a lot of corrections, need to reshoot or have to solve other technical issues.

Tools we use for this step:

Step 6 – Uploading and posting

Phew! We finally have our lesson and learning materials!

Now we upload the learning materials and post the lesson. It rarely takes more than a few hours – and that’s all there is to it!

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Why Kitchen Ninja?

Over 10 years ago, I was given the nickname “Kitchen Ninja” by a friend. The nickname referred to my cooking skills while alluding to my gymnastic abilities at the time. More recently, “Ninja” has become a popular term for someone who is very good at something. We live in a time where “fitness ninjas”, “tech ninjas” and “customer service ninjas” abound to solve our problems for us. Perhaps then, it is only fitting that we seek to become our own “kitchen ninjas” – if only to reestablish our inherently human connection with the food we eat, the art of taste, and the relationships that are built and nurtured around a meal.

The idea for The Kitchen Ninja’s Dojo started when my father asked me to teach him how to cook.

In 64 years, dad never needed to do much cooking, but now that he had retired, he wanted to help my mother in the kitchen. Not too hard, right? Just throw him a cookbook and let mum check up on him.

If only it was that simple! In reality, my dad found recipes and cookbooks too boring and confusing – he needed something more fun, engaging and convenient, that avoided complicated cooking terminology and just got straight to the point.

In response, my spouse and I developed a set of minimalistic recipe cards to help dad get started. These cards evolved into “Wholesome Noodle Bowls” the first Kitchen Ninja cooking lesson.

Since then, we have decided to share our cooking lessons online. We are starting with cooking lessons for complete beginners. We will then continue with cooking lessons for more experienced home cooks.

You can read about my own journey to becoming a kitchen ninja on my personal blog: The Nomad Polymath

Warm regards,

Sara – The Kitchen Ninja

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