Host Highlight: Agnes Sakai
"This is a gift in an era where women are programmed to be at war with themselves and each other."
I'm half Brazilian, half Japanese, from a beautiful island in the south of Brazil, called Florianopolis. After hopping around in São Paulo, New York, Seattle and London between career and love, Amsterdam is home, it's where I host for & The Table and also where I founded a project to build community. At the end of the year, I hope to expand my & The Table dinners to Brazil and next year to Istanbul.
My most passionate project at the moment is my supper club @sakai.cooks where I build community and foster the feeling of a big unrushed family meal, like I grew up with in Brazil.
Career-wise, I'm a Civil and Industrial Engineer by formation and work as Global Program Manager for Uber Eats, overseeing the Europe, Middle East and African markets. It's been six very exciting years where I had the opportunity to work on big challenges such as launching Uber Eats in Brazil, creating the first retail operations for Uber Eats and more recently Leading Sales Enablement efforts for the region.
I love routine and slow-living. I always start my days with a meditation, ayurveda routine, some form of mindful exercise at home and a wholesome breakfast with matcha. On the weekends, I love to spend time with my friends, my husband and also go to my meditation group meeting.
Joyful, Diverse, Elaborate, Surprising, & Delicious,
The very first theme I hosted at the & the Table dinner was Side Hustle (Ikigai). When I picked, I tried to think "What kind of woman would I be super excited to meet at a night out, or a bar?" And realise at the moment I'm very inspired by people who search for their most authentic skill, and devote time to develop it.
The dinner resonated with so many women and we took so much out of the insights, encouragement and admiration we held for each other, on that evening and beyond. So I continue to host this theme until I can (hopefully) host all women that applied for my events but haven't gotten a spot at the table yet.
So many! How to pick one? I keep in touch with every woman that came to my & The Table dinner, and most of them attend the @sakai.cooks events later and bring their friends and partner along. But to name a few, one of the girls that came to my Ikigay dinner party wanted to get experience with hospitality so she can one day host her own & The Table. So she volunteered to help with service during my @sakai.cooks events and we are a team now! Another amazing women was her own independent magazine which I will have a piece on in the next edition; another one we'd love to cook together; and so many other plans: to cook together, volunteer on food banks, have a cookbook photographed by another.. The list goes on!
A bit off topic but still on connections, I truly cannot wait to leverage & The Table reach and host in my home country in Brazil at the end of this year! I feel so supported and encouraged to expand with Sam's community!
I see & The Table as my food lab. I'm so excited to try new recipes that I actually never repeated a dish and usually even end up with two (or more) desserts so I can test all the crazy ideas that I have! Still, I would like to share a recipe that I really enjoyed creating recently and I feel it's very & The Table. My cooking is seasonal, healthy, and plant-forward, so I adapted the traditional Japanese Pancake Okonomiyaki recipe to be vegan with good protein sources. I topped with charred mini corn, radishes and arugula that were in season and a poached egg for non-vegans.
¾ cup (180 mL) water
0.28 oz (8 g) kombu (dried kelp)
3 cups (192 g) shredded green cabbage
4 stalks green onion, chopped
4 king trumpet mushrooms, cut into 1 cm pieces
5.3 oz (150 g) silken tofu, broken down with a fork.
¼ cup (34 g) chickpea flour for extra protein (sub rice flour for gluten free or plain flour)
1 tsp (3 g) baking powder
¼ cup (60 mL) vegan okonomiyaki sauce
¼ cup (60 mL) vegan mayonnaise
1 poached or fried egg to top.
Colourful beautiful vegetables, lightly seasoned with lemon vinaigrette
Mix all ingredients until a thick batter forms and taste it for salt. Leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the chickpea flour can hydrate. You want a thick batter to form (pancake like), add water if needed to adjust consistency.
To cook, preheat a skillet in medium heat with oil and drop about 1 cup of batter on it. Allow a nice brown crust to form and the pancake to easily release from the pan. Flip and repeat on the other side
Secrets from the Chef for & The Table:
*You can prepare the batter one day in advance and store it in the fridge.
*I cooked and plated the pancakes during our dinner, but if you have less practice or are feeling nervous, you can also cook the pancakes beforehand and warm/crispy it up in the oven at the time of serving.
* If a poached egg or fresh fried egg sounds too complicated for you, you can soft boil eggs, peel and keep them submerged in water in the fridge for up to one day in advance. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes in advance of service to bring it to room temperature.
* If you prepare the pancake and eggs in advance, all is left for you to do during dinner is reheat pancakes, dress vegetables and plate it beautifully with the sliced egg on top.
Flowers, candles and printed menus don't require any special skills and show that you put thought and care into preparing for your women. Also, no matter how nervous you are, a big smile upon arrival is a must.
People tend to overthink about what others will think and if what they have is good enough. But in reality, ultimately what everyone seeks is connection, to belong and to feel seen. Don't stress if the recipe didn't go exactly as planned or if the tableware isn't perfectly matching, Presence and sorority are the star of an evening with & The Table, in my opinion.
There are so many incredibly inspiring women out there, longing and wanting to connect, share experiences, and cheer for each other. I am truly moved by the community I am able to build via & The Table platform.
This is a gift in an era where women are programmed to be at war with themselves and each other.