Temple eatery replaces Nana’s Café, but Asian food tradition continues

February 16, 2022 by No Comments

Inside the former Main Street home of Nana’s Japanese Cafe in Alfred, Kevin Em has built a culinary temple. 

The restaurant, aptly named Temple, draws influence from Buddhist culinary tradition, which Em studied while volunteering as a cook in a monastery on the Southwest coast of South Korea.

“It’s a Temple for me to meditate, for me to find myself, a temple for my own mindfulness and a place for me to center myself in this culinary world that’s been shattered by coronavirus,” he said.

Temple’s menu changes daily, and serves vegetarian and pescatarian meals like Korean seaweed rice rolls, omelet rose with grilled asparagus and vegan curry with fried egg over rice.

Em has built a space in Temple that pays tribute to his time at the monastery. He’s taken lessons he learned there about balance in gut microbiome, how meditation can help push through a lunch rush, and attention to each piece of produce to drive the philosophy at his restaurant.

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