Ai Ventura

Japanese pastry chef and cookbook author in Sweden

"Japanese pastry chef and cookbook author from Tokyo currently based in Stockholm. She has worked in the baking industry for 15 years across Japan and Sweden. "

Photo: Maria De La Croix

Tokyo 2004 - 2013

Ai studied in three disciplines: yogashi ( Western style Japanese pastries), wagashi (Japanese traditional pastries) and breads at Kokusai Seika Senmon academy in Tokyo before earning her baking license. Afterwards she trained as a pastry chef professionally before starting her own shop, Patisserie Bon Aibon 2009.

In Sweden 2013 -

Upon arriving in Stockholm, Japanese cuisine was already popular, but there were no authentic pastries in the local market. Coincidentally, Swedish pastries also were not yet common in Japan. This opportunity inspired her to advance her career while playing a role in bridging the two worlds of Japanese and Swedish confections.

Ai began introducing Japanese pastries to Sweden incrementally, first experimenting with direct sales at cafes and events, and then expanding to corporate catering, consulting, and instructional workshops. Her influence grew significantly after holding a number of successful Bon Aibon pop-up cafes at Östasiatiskamuseet on Skeppsholmen, at times selling more than 1000 pastries in four hours. News of the events spread by world-of-mouth and have been covered in newspaper, magazines and radio.

In 2018 she received an invitation from leading publishing company, Natur & Kultur, to produce her first book on Japanese pastries. Japanska bakverk was published in the fall of 2019. The book consists of three different categories of Japanese pastries: wagashi, yogashi and kashi-pan. Some of these are native to Japan, while others originated from western countries and then were modified to suit Japanese tastes and aesthetics.

Recipes in the book are presented from the perspective of Japanese cuisine and accompanied with notes on the history of the craft. Publication of Japanska bakverk led Ai out of Stockholm to provinces across Sweden including Gothenburg, Uppsala and Darlana. The message she carries is one that presents pastries not as only food, but as important cultural icons that embody the essence of Japanese culture.

Bon Aibon pastries are available daily at Östasiatiskamuseet, and the periodic event, 茶寮 -Saryo-, which focuses exclusively on traditional wagashi and its connection with Japanese tea. Operating in the Swedish entrepreneurial network, Ai has introduced a new level of refinement to Japanese confections in Sweden. For her success in pop-up cafes and events, she will appear on the cover of Tidningen Företagaren magazine in December 2019.

In Japan 2013 -

Since emigrating in 2013, Ai has promoting Swedish food culture by conducting workshops and events in Tokyo which draw customers from across Japan. She has also had her works sold at the upscale Odakyu department store in Shinjuku and the Kyobunkan book store in Ginza. Her baking workshops have also appeared on television in Japan. In 2019 she was a guest on the Californian podcast, Her Confidence Her Way which promotes Japanese working women in society. In the podcast Ai shared her experiences as both a successful entrepreneur and a mother of two, which was enabled in part by the socially progressive Swedish government.

東京 2004 - 2013
スウェーデン 2013 -

日本へ向けて 2013 -