Meg says: "I grew up in a traditional Japanese small town, living with my relatively large family in a compact neighbourhood, with relatives close by, where everyone ate locally and seasonally. The growing, cooking and enjoyment of food was closely aligned with the changing seasons, and deeply embedded in our lives.
Each season was known for its vegetables, fruit, river fish and seafood, starting with the sprouts of wild mountain vegetables in spring, through summer greens, to autumn pumpkins and the all-important rice harvest. Seafood and river fish had their own cycle of what is running and best eating throughout the seasons. Everyone had their own plots, so a flow of fresh produce and seafood was exchanged between family and friends throughout the year, with the excess preserved naturally and stored to add variety and ensure a healthy balance.
Today we treasure this approach to food, but as a cibi (young one) that’s just how it was. It came naturally to eat local and fresh, because it was the best and cheapest — as well as the tastiest because most of it went straight into the kitchen and never even got as far as the fridge. There were no packaged foods because everything we needed was available.
The art of presentation, from hearty winter one-pot dishes through to elaborate New Year’s feasts, also reflected local arts, crafts and manufacture in the selection of pottery, wood and metal dishes that we used. It is a growing cycle, cooking and eating culture that has evolved locally in towns and cities throughout Japan for many centuries. No wonder it came naturally!
Living in a big city you can easily forget how good the quality of simple local living was. At CIBI, our cooking is a direct expression of the Japanese food culture I grew up with. Starting with quality rice as the base, we match a variety of ingredients from fresh vegetables, fish, and meats through to seaweeds and beans, to create simple, thoughtful and balanced meals."
At the heart of special occassions
Beyond the hearth of the CIBI kitchen, we enjoy bringing our food and eating philosophy to a small number of outside events, where our thoughtful menus, stylish dishes, and warm service can enhance the enjoyment of a very special occasion.
We love to curate the menu and service to the significance of the event, using cultural and seasonal cues to create a memorable presentation and meal. Each menu is born out of the belief that the food we cherish everyday is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It should also excite us and pleasure our eyes, intellect, body and soul.
As every "cibi" instinctively knows the warmest space is made warmer with food from the heart, so the café at CIBI is at the heart of the CIBI experience. CIBI’s approach to food is simplicity itself. Using the tastiest seasonal ingredients, available organic produce and a healthy balance of vegetables, fruits, fish and meats, we create a menu of simple homely dishes, that will excite the senses and feed the cibi in you.
Our CIBI café is a warmly welcoming space that breathes life into CIBI values — wholesome food, aromatic coffee, eclectic furniture, welcoming decor and warm conversation. A space where people can gather and chat – enjoy food and inspire each other, and take their discoveries and treasures home with them.
On the weekends, we serve special Japanese breakfast plates inspired by my grandmother’s home cooking. It’s a treat of Japanese home cooking that touches on childhood flavours and way of life.
Creating a warm and inviting sense of space. CIBI is about the essential goods that you can treasure like a child. Each CIBI item must have that special appeal that attracts the eye, stimulates the curiosity, and is a "keeper" because it feels "so right". CIBI products are always chic and cool, yet have a timeless quality and aesthetic - they’ll become an essential part of your lifestyle, bringing you years of pleasure.
In Mina·no·ie, CIBI creates a comfortable place where you will simply feel at home: somewhere you can truly relax, yet feel inspired. The heart and soul of Mina·no·ie is our food. It is healthy, delicious, loving, caring, sustainable, and organic. Our desire is to present simple life-affirming dishes that provide energy, health, comfort and balance – like the very best of home cooking.
The characters in Mina·no·ie are embedded in a traditional Japanese small town sense of home that embodies a simple way of life.
CIBI is the love and life of Meg and Zenta Tanaka, a wide-ranging expression of their concept of 'living with design and style.' CIBI blends Meg and Zenta's training and experience in food & wine, design and architecture with Japanese sensibilities from their upbringing and evolving lifestyles in Australia, to create a unique lifestyle experience summed up by their philosophy: head, hands, heart.
The CIBI approach is based on the Japanese ‘衣食住,’ the 3 key elements required for enjoying our personal environment and bringing happiness to daily life:
a shaping of space and style that appeals to the intellect
good design in living that touches the senses
simple fresh food made with loving care that feeds body and soul It is brought to life in three natural complementary fields of food, design and architecture.
In Japanese, 'CIBI' means 'a little one.' Once every one of us was a 'cibi,' enjoying that pure and innocent time in life when we could do whatever we liked. As you know, 'cibi' are always curious, looking at and touching all sorts of things, exploring and playing with different objects in myriad and often unexpected ways. We treasured our favourite things for a long time. And with their natural sense of delight, 'cibi' always fill a space with warmth.
CIBI celebrates those precious times and pleasurable moments, when everything was fresh and full of possibility, reaching out to touch the child in all of us. CIBI brings out the 'cibi' in you, refreshing your curiosity, prompting a sense of discovery, and creating the warm feeling of a special place.
Creating a warm and inviting sense of space
The challenge of how to shape and use a space so that it is a natural extension of your personality for individuals, or brand for companies, that enhances the quality of life and work appeals to our intellect. In shaping and giving expression to space, we are very aware of the overall environment and society in which the building and its occupants live, as well the desire of the individuals involved to express their personality and complement their lifestyle. We believe designs should be simple, functional and efficient at the operating level, and at the same time warm, inviting and intriguing to excite a joyful quality of life at the personal level.
Thoughtful attention to aesthetics and the spirit of each space is central to giving expression to the owner’s desire for a sense of place. The design and choice of materials are key elements in creating a harmonious balance between ourselves, visitors to the space, and objects within, catching the eye, engaging the senses, and stimulating the intellect. To create a space that is intuitively warm and inviting it needs to engage and intrigue the individual, to excite a highly personal response. We believe a growing sense of discovery in the details adds to the depth of a relationship with a space and the feeling of comfort and enjoyment that grows the more the time you spend there.
One of the great delights of our CIBI building and location is that we have a great space in which to experiment, learn, share and grow. We fuse these elements into hosting a small number of events and exhibitions each year that focus on exploring ideas that enhance our lifestyle and express our love of great design that improves our quality of life.
It is a great space for us to join in new collaborations, to curate events and exhibitions that provide a special experience of not only being able to handle and learn how to use the products on show, but to learn the history behind their design, evolution, manufacture and use, immersing in the culture of the product.
We curate these exhibitions with the desire to provide ideas and insights into products and objects that add a touch of convenience, joy and style to our lives every day.