Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen, Volume 1
Writer/Artist: Hiromi Sato, created by Kamome Shirahama
Lettering: Lys Blakeslee
Translator: Stephen Kohler
Publisher: Kodansha (Print/Digital)
Publication Date: October 31, 2023
Genre: Manga (JP), Fantasy, Food, Supernatural
Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen, Volume 1, through stunning art, brings tasty dishes like sizzling stews and indulgent honey-scented pudding cups to life.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking; how you combine different ingredients to make one delicious dish feels like magic. Eating dishes that heal the soul and learning recipes passed down for decades add to that magic. Reading Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen, Volume 1, felt like being young again, learning a new recipe, and following my mom around the kitchen. Just in time for the holidays comes the spin-off of the award-winning series Witch Hat Atelier, filled with many scrumptious dishes.
This spin-off brings back some of our favorite characters like Coco, Qifrey, Agott, Tetia, Richeh, and Olruggio. Our main chefs in this volume are Qifrey, a kind witch and magic teacher who owns the atelier everyone is a part of, and Olruggio, a seemingly blunt witch who supervises the atelier and also helps the girls with their magic. As the taste testers of this volume, we had Coco (a bright and optimistic girl, enthusiastic to learn magic), Agott (a loner witch obsessed with perfecting her magic skills), Tetia (a bubbly witch who wants to make people happy with her magic), and Richeh (a stubborn witch, convinced by her friends to keep learning magic).
I followed along with one chapter to see how the final dish would taste. I picked the Atelier-style mushroom and bacon croquettes and am glad I did.
As the story goes in the book, Quifrey wants to make something sophisticated after putting the girls to sleep. He uses magic to roast carapace yam (potato or sweet potato). While roasting, he dices and cooks bacon and horn caps (mushrooms). Although I couldn’t use an ice spell to cool down my potatoes like Quifrey, the fridge worked just as well. The croquettes were ready and turned out delicious after a quick fry in a flour, egg, and breadcrumb mix. The outside was perfectly crispy, and the potatoes were silky smooth; the bacon and mushrooms in the potatoes added a great umami taste to the croquettes. I took some liberties with the veggie choice, but I think I did a good job replicating the dish. Like the others, this chapter was easy to follow and had the beautiful art that fans are used to from Witch Hat Atelier.
Witch Hat Atelier always has beautiful and dynamic action scenes with incredibly detailed art, but being able to see the characters just cooking and enjoying their meals was something I didn’t know I needed until now. This might be a personal thing, but one of my favorite moments is cooking a meal for someone and seeing them enjoy it with their smile. Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen beautifully captured those moments of joy that come from seeing your loved ones happy.
Overall, I definitely recommend Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen. There’s a mix of dishes: soups and stews, pastries, pasta, croquettes, late-night snacks, fun drinks, picnic ideas, cold remedies, and more. Because there is a good variety of dishes, this volume is good for those new at cooking because there are simple recipes like a cheesy egg melt and more challenging dishes like a rose tart bouquet. Plus, the pacing of the stories makes it easy to replicate the dishes, and the art is as detailed and impressive as Witch Hat Atelier.
VERDICT: 5 stars (Highly Recommend) After making the croquettes, I’m excited to try to make the “Flying Shrimp & Witch Hat Dumplings.” If you love cooking or are missing the Witch Hat Atelier characters, pick up a copy. Kodansha licenses Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen, Vol. 1, now available in print and digital for $12.99.