Eric Gower

Eric Gower
Did you know?

Eric has stopped eating with forks and much prefers wood or bamboo chopsticks. He says: “There is something about the feel of wood inside the mouth. Most of us probably remember the rough and warm texture of the twigs we tasted as children. It is a most pleasant memory for me."


Eric Gower
Eric's Featured Recipe
Pickled Ginger

Click here for recipe

Eric Gower is a writer, cooking teacher, and private chef based in California’s Bay Area.


A week after graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in modern Japanese literature in 1987, Eric Gower found himself hitchhiking around Japan. He wound up staying for 15 years, working for the Prime Minister's office as an editor and ghostwriter on political economy.


Eric became fascinated with Japanese food — in restaurants, in markets, and, especially, at home, where he began to cook with Japanese ingredients in nontraditional ways. This  both surprised and delighted many Japanese, including two editors who asked him to write cookbooks explaining his “breakaway” methods and theory.


Over time Eric focused more of his energies on food and cooking. While based in Japan, he did a great deal of traveling throughout the world (especially in Asia); he tasted, cooked, and learned new things wherever he went.


Eric moved to San Francisco from Japan in 2002 and began exploring ethnic markets, especially Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern markets, and combining those ingredients with his weekly trips to the bountiful Bay Area farmers' markets. That combination — staples from the world’s great culinary traditions plus local, usually organic produce and meat, with supporting roles from the judicious use of excellent salts, fresh herbs and spices, citrus, ginger, and good oils — forms the backbone of what he calls breakaway  cooking, which stresses simplicity, ease, and powerful flavors above all else.


He is the author of three cookbooks: The Breakaway Cook, The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen, and Eric’s Kitchen. Most of the food, he says, is created to go well with wine. He explains his approach, saying  “I like “big” flavors that showcase the freshness of locally grown ingredients.” But he also prefers “a minimalist presentation, ideally on handmade Japanese pottery that is a pleasure to hold, use, and wash.”


In 2011, Eric started an artisanal matcha (green tea from Japan) business called Breakaway Matcha. He lives and works in Marin County, California. Website:

Latest Recipes

Spicy Corn Salad

This salad is remarkably refreshing and satisfying, particularly in the summer when corn is at its peak. Add any vegetable you like to th...

(1 Votes)

Five Flavored Salts

Using flavored salts—I also call them finishing salts—in your everyday cooking is the simplest thing you can do to elevate an ordinary me...

(1 Votes)

Pickled Ginger

Japanese sushi restaurants serve pickled ginger in a small mound next to the fish. It serves as a palate cleanser between bites of fish-i...

(1 Votes)

Crispy, Tangy Tofu

This is a quick, tasty, and nutritious way to start a meal and one of my favorite ways to serve tofu. The top stays crispy, yet the rest ...

(1 Votes)

Crispy Rock Cod in Reduced Citrus

One of the many enticements of this dish is its versatility. You can substitute any firm-fleshed fish for the cod, including salmon, and ...

(1 Votes)

Spicy Easy Shrimp

Try to avoid peeled and deveined shrimp, because cleaning before freezing causes off-flavors and weird textures. Buy them whole—it’s easy...

(1 Votes)

Miso-Orange Pepper Roasted Chicken

This is everything roasted chicken should be: moist, deeply flavorful meat with crisp, citrus-savory skin. You can get great results with...

(1 Votes)

Minty, Boozy Chicken

This is like pouring a cooked mojito over stewed chicken, with the rum, lime, and herbs mingling beautifully with the chicken juices. Ser...

(1 Votes)

Herby, Creamy Pasta

Ravenous? This hits the hunger meter like nothing else and can be made in about fifteen minutes, start to finish. The addition of Greek y...

(1 Votes)

Habanero Fried Rice

This dish is spicy-hot, but it’s not all about heat: the flavor of the habanero is almost tropical, with notes of passionfruit and other ...

(1 Votes)

Garlic Confit

Poached garlic, or garlic confit (confit refers to cooked food that is covered in fat of some kind, serving as both a seal and a preserva...

(1 Votes)

Butternut Squash “Pizzettas”

The greatest thing about these things, aside from their scrumptiousness and ease of preparation, is their versatility. Just as with pizza...

(1 Votes)

Red Chard, Avocado, and Blood Orange with Mango-Chutney Dressing

This side dish has it all: creamy avocado, tart orange, savory greens, zesty chutney, and crunchy toasted almonds. Serve as a salad or a ...

(1 Votes)

Baked Peas with Tarragon, Yogurt, and Pistachios

Frozen peas are a gift to the breakaway cook: their creamy, earthy goodness bursts with flavor, and they couldn’t be easier to store and ...

(1 Votes)

Persimmons Grand Marnier

An elegant, three-minute dessert. This works equally well with bananas.

(1 Votes)

Galangal-Brown Sugar Ice Cream

This is an insanely rich and delicious ice cream, but the richness is tempered by the floral pungency of the galangal. You can successful...

(1 Votes)
Cookbooks, etc

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