Welcome to the world of CIBI
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:
CIBI values – head, hands, heart
CIBI aims to provide products and services that touch the hands, head and heart, to enrich the every day quality of life of our customers and stakeholders.
head: a shaping of space and style that appeals to the intellect
to appreciate the form and functionality of each product
to appreciate the healthy balance and wellness in each serving of food
hands: good design in living that touches the senses
to engage all the senses in the use of each product
to engage all the senses in the act of eating and drinking
heart: simple fresh food made with loving care that feeds body and soul
to enjoy the richness of the experience involved in each moment using a product
to enjoy the colours, tastes and experiences in each mouthful of food
It is brought to life in three natural complementary fields of food, design and architecture.
CIBI – what’s in a name?
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.
HEART - A fresh approach to simplicity
At the heart of CIBI cooking and eating we hold dear a handful of core beliefs that touch every step, from the selection of ingredients through to savouring the last grain of rice on our plates.
- Use fresh seasonal produce with lots of different varieties to enjoy a host of benefits
- Stay true to the taste of each ingredient
- Balance the ingredients for each dish for their nutrition, flavours and visual appeal
- Take time to chew well to savour the diverse textures, linger on the flavours, and take pleasure in good wholesome food with your whole body.
- Eat different ingredients without wasting anything or beginning with dislikes
- Eat locally and well contributes to both individual health and a healthy environment
CIBI Food philosophy - A celebration of local produce and culture
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.”
CIBI cafe - Welcome to simple heart-warming cooking
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.
CIBI kitchen - At the heart of special occasions
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.
HEAD - CIBI design studio
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.
HANDS - CIBI artisan store
Hands on the finer things in life
CIBI artisan store focuses on 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’ in your hand. We have brought together a range of goods in three broad categories that we take personal delight in: Japanese artisan war, furniture, and CIBI original goods.
Japanese artisan ware - Perfect for the task in hand
Our fine pieces made by Japanese artisans are imbued with tradition, culture, and history. These select ‘iki’ products are stylish items, made with expertise, head, hands and heart, giving them an essential quality and warmth you can treasure for life and feel a special attachment to.
Most are everyday items, to be used and enjoyed everyday for their simplicity and perfect functionality for the task in hand, and how they sit in the hand. Prices often excellent value because these are small run productions, handcrafted on a small run lines that allow consistency of quality with a larger production scale.
Furniture - Treasures with timeless appeal
Each item in our range of furniture sourced from Europe and Australia has a timeless appeal that will go on bringing joy and happiness into your life with years to use.
CIBI original goods - Creating the things we’d love to have
When we can’t find exactly what we want, we go out and make it. CIBI creates a select range of original products from the functional to fashion to furniture, designed to add the delight we get in their creation into your life.