About John Belleme
Disillusioned with a career in medical research, John happened to wander into the Oak Feed Natural Foods Store, in Coconut Grove, Florida, in the spring of 1975. He walked up to owner Sandy Pukel, who was dressed in his usual shorts, Birkenstock sandals and flowered shirt, and asked a simple question about nutrition and health. Sandy’s esoteric answer involving macrobiotics and the order of the universe launched John into the world of yin and yang.
Over 30 year later John is one of this country’s leading authorities on the subject of miso and other traditional Japanese foods. Having lived in Japan and studied miso making first hand, he has been writing about the culinary and medicinal qualities of miso and other Japanese foods for over twenty-five years. To date John and his wife Jan have published 4 books and more than 130 articles about these foods. Their books include: Culinary Treasures of Japan, Avery Publishing Group Inc., 1992; Cooking with Japanese Foods, Avery Publishing Group Inc., 1993; The Real Taste of Japan, Cross Media Ltd., 2004; and The Miso Book, Square One Publishers, 2004. They have just competed their fifth book, Japanese Foods that Heal, which was released by Tuttle Publishing in the winter of 2007.
John is an accomplished food photographer and has illustrated several cookbooks and many articles for nationally known magazines. Several hundred of his photographs have been published in the last twenty years.
In 1979, John, Jan, Sandy and several partners and investors founded the American Miso Company, one of the world’s largest producers of traditional miso. In the past John has been a consultant to the Japanese foods industry on manufacturing, product development, and marketing.
John has traveled around the eastern United States giving lectures about authentic Japanese foods, which are often illustrated by his extensive slide collection of traditional food makers in Japan that were taken during his stay in that country. He has been on TV in the United States and Japan and has been interviewed by the press, radio, and magazines on the subject of Japanese foods.
Before becoming interested in food and health, John was a research biologist for the Veteran’s Administration in Miami, Florida, and worked in laboratories at the University of Miami Medical School and Harvard University Medical School. John has applied his medical research background to interpreting the medical literature on miso and other medicinal foods.
In the last several years John has been assisting Sandy in producing the Holistic Holiday at Sea events sponsored by Holistic Holiday at Sea. John is an avid motorcyclist. You can find him “On Any Sunday” cruising the backcountry of the Carolina’s. John lives in Saluda, North Carolina.