Nakamura.ke is a Glow-in-the-Dark Dining, Cocktail, & Theatrical Experience with Yokai – Interview

Having sold out at a record average of 24 hours per city, The Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen is a mobile dining experience showcasing high-end, glow-in-the-dark food and cocktails created by award-winning chefs and designers. Unlike a typical bar or club, the Nakamura.ke {House of Nakamura} is a totally immersive dining event including theatrics, storytelling, art and folklore, and this time it’s on the side of a mountain. Lucky ticket holders will be presented with glowing gourmet ramen and drinks inside and outside a boutique mobile kitchen created from a shipping container as they engage with Nakamura family members to learn the mystery behind the luminescence and the curse that keeps the family moving around the globe.

 

Haunting had the unique opportunity to sit down with Nakamura.ke to discuss this immersive dining experience, their breathtaking Los Angeles location, and their partnership with Disco Dining Club.

 

In your own words, what is Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen?

The world’s FIRST glow-in-the-dark ramen shop. The Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen is a mobile dining experience showcasing high-end glow-in-the-dark food and cocktails created by award-winning chefs and designers.

Unlike a typical bar or club, the Nakamura.ke is a totally immersive dining experience including theatrics, storytelling, art, and folklore. The story goes:

Five hundred and nine years ago at the turn of the century, human records show the first sighting of the Nakamuras – a family of yokai. They lived harmoniously amongst us, running their family ramen business at night to serve other yokais. Their secret recipe was very popular amongst the spirits. During their busy nights, the restaurant would turn into a carnival, so rowdy that sometimes the festive commotion even reached human senses. On one fated night, a formidable storm swept through town and engulfed everything in its path. The rising moon cast an ominous shadow on barren earth. The following morning, the Nakamuras’ parents went missing. Their mysterious disappearance left their offspring in a frenzy. With the absence of an overhead figure, business took a consequential toll. There was no choice but to close shop indefinitely.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

All of the children went separate ways in an attempt to build a new life for themselves. Years after, as the screen faded and the dust began to settle, the Nakamura children reunited at the old ramen shop to commemorate their parents. The memorial carried on peacefully until the stove suddenly turned on by itself. Produce started glowing. Utensils started vibrating vigorously, beckoning to be held. The children followed the illuminated objects as they moved through the kitchen. Something was trying to show them their parents’ process of ramen making.

It dawned on them that remnants of their parents’ spirits still lingered on by way of their legacy – the secret recipe. They realized that unless they mastered it, they would lose the little that was left of their parents, too. Determined, they decided to open the shop again. Every full moon or so, the noodle would glow brightest and the children’s dream would come so close to manifestation, only to watch the light dim back down again. To this day, the parents’ whereabouts remains a mystery. But fruitless results don’t waver their faith. The Nakamura children and their mobile kitchen embarked on a lifetime search, chasing after the brightest full moon around the globe in hopes of a reunion with their parents.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

Can you tell us about the talented team behind Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen?

Dashboard is an art company designing dreamlike spaces & experiences. They work with cultural institutions, brands, agencies, developers and the public to invigorate non-traditional spaces with unparalleled design and experiential art.

Hailing from Atlanta and Tokyo, Zoo as Zoo is the creative outlet of a bunch of outcasts and oddballs that serendipitously got together. With an appetite for wit and the uncanny, this chaotic little studio sets out to create their own visual vocabulary – one that’s authentic and true to the human experience, dark realities, youth, the South, and everything in between.

Based in south London, Bompas & Parr creates fine English jellies and curates spectacular culinary events.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

With hints of a narrative in which audiences must engage with the Nakamura family members to learn the mystery behind the luminescence and the curse that keeps the family moving around the globe, what themes will guests experience? 

The Nakamura.ke folklore is all about familial love. Guests can expect to see the offspring of the Nakamura clan, guiding them through the experience and ritualistically preparing the sacred ramen recipe. They are there not to haunt the guest, but instead to share their story and encourage imbibing in hopes of finding their parents again.

 

As food, art and immersive entertainment are beautifully and inextricably intertwined, what influenced the choice to include immersive elements into this dinner? How are the immersive elements included? Can you speak more to how audiences will be able to interact? Will they have the agency to change the narrative?

The audience is an integral part of the experience. The tale goes that the more this glowing food and drink is imbibed, the more honor we are bringing to the Nakamura family, and the more honor to our and their ancestors. Guests get to choose their selection of ramen, of which we have three, one of which can be made vegan, all of which can be modified for dietary restrictions. They also select their glowing cocktail they have inside of the mobile kitchen. They can choose to speak with the family members, explore the extended experience at the Kencho bar, or simply consume their food and leave. The Nakamura folklore cannot be changed, but guests can choose how deeply they would like to interact with it.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

How did you come to use Yamashiro’s as your location? It’s such an iconic landmark in Los Angeles with sweeping views of the city. Are you able to incorporate that into the experience?

Yamashiro is integral to the Los Angeles chapter of the Nakamura.ke experience. We don’t want to give too much away, but guests will get to view a typically off-limits area of the antique restaurant as they are brought to the Nakamura.ke mobile kitchen. Plus we have Disco Dining Club planning three opening parties in conjunction on July 4, 5, and 6! These will use the heirloom architecture of Yamashiro as a perfect setting. Disco and Dashboard are also creating Yomi’s Saloon, a pop-up speakeasy taking place every night of  Nakamura.ke dinner service in the upstairs bar of Yamashiro’s Kencho Tea House. The speakeasy’s name is derived from the Japanese word for the underworld and will welcome both guests of Nakamura.ke and Yamashiro to a clandestine bar of sinful titillation. Invoking the spirit of the gods, Yomi’s Saloon with feature signature cocktails, eclectic programming, and ornate design to transport guests into the lavish life of the dead. Yomi’s Saloon will be a nightly lounge programmed by DDC.

 

With the experience involving craft drinks, what is your relationship to specialty cocktails? How do you feel that these elevate experiences and better connect an audience?

Both Bompas & Parr and DDC are cocktail connoisseurs. Their ability to evoke emotion by manipulating the senses with just a single libation is pure genius, and it would have been a disservice to the Nakamura.ke experience and guests if we didn’t use that to our advantage. Everything about the Nakamura.ke experience is designed to evoke emotion and bring guests deeper into the folklore, and the cocktails are no different.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

As a purveyor of high-end cocktails, food, and experiential entertainment, Courtney Nichols of Disco Dining Club is the perfect fit for this experience. How did this team up come to fruition?

In every city Nakamura.ke travels to, we partner with different restaurants, organizations, brands, and venues to execute everything at the highest possible quality and make sure we are engaging with the local food scene and community.

We had been a long-time fan of Disco Dining Club, a thematic food and drink event company that revels in all the excess, debauchery, and hedonism of disco. We had been trying to figure out a project that Dashboard and DDC could do together. When Dash reached out to their creator, Courtney Nichols, she was so lovely and enthusiastic, we knew it would be a great partnership.

Courtney is very well-connected in the immersive food, theater, and chef community. She put us in contact with Yamashiro’s event team. They are interested in doing unique pop-ups, and when we met they sounded equally enthusiastic to bring Nakamura.ke there; plus we were absolutely starry eyed by the insane skyline views and 110+ year old Japanese building! They actually have a 600-year-old pagoda, flown in from Japan, it is currently the oldest structure in California. Yamashiro has such a wonderful old Hollywood vibe mixed with contemporary Japanese food and beverage it was the perfect marriage.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

Will the additional Western Saloon experience 4th of July weekend be a separate event or incorporated into the ramen experience?

The DDC activation, The United Plates of Ramen, is its own curated experience including late night indulgences with Americana-inspired moments for a colorful celebration of food, drink, music, and theatricality. However, everything happening at the L.A. activation, from the DDC activation to the Kencho bar, and the container dining experience are all connected as used as extensions of each other to tell the full Nakamura folklore.

 

Where do you see your company progressing to in the future? What are its long-term goals? Can you tease any upcoming events?

In line with the Nakamura.ke story, we want to continue to move the kitchen around the globe finding and feeding the wildest and hungriest humans. We’ve set our sights on London, Miami, New York, and Tokyo, to name a few, but there’s no telling where the chase for the brightest full moons will take us.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

What do you want people to walk away from your experiences with? What do you want them to feel?

We hope guests walk away from the experience feeling connected to the Nakamuras on a soul-to-soul level. We want them to feel entranced, inspired, and of course, full.

 

Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen

 

For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets for Nakamura.ke Mobile Kitchen in Los Angeles, visit www.exploretock.com/nakamura-ke.

 

For more information about Disco Dining Club visit discodiningclub.com. For more information about Yamashiro | Hollywood visit yamashirohollywood.com. For more information about Bompas & Parr visit Bompas&Parr.com. For more about Zoo as Zoo, visit zooaszoo.com. And finally, for more information about Dashboard, visit dashboard.us.

 

________________

 

Haunting is a resource for immersive theater and horror fans in Los Angeles and across the world, promoting art and community. Want to help us reach even more people, and get some cool perks and experiences? For as little as $1 a month, you can join our Patreon, and help us keep bringing content to life.

 

About The Author

Taylor Winters
Taylor has loved immersive theater since his first experience at ALONE in 2013. Since then, he has written, produced, & directed immersive theater, consulted for numerous immersive companies, acted in others, and attended even more. He has his PhD in Bioengineering, an MBA in Organization Leadership, and currently works at Medtronic fixing broken hearts.

No Comments

Share your Haunting words...

Immersive Theater Intensity Scale Haunting Glowing A - Immersive Theater - Extreme Haunts - Horror Experiences
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On InstagramVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our Feed


Haunting.net | Contact@Haunting.net
X