The 2020 edition of Washoku World Challenge, the world-leading Japanese cuisine contest organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, is delighted to announce the six finalists of this year’s prestigious annual competition. They are:

 

Ms. Naumi CARVAJAL UEMURA (Uemura, Spain)



Mr. Man Fong HO (Edo Japanese Restaurant, Macau)

Mr. Alex KIM (Takibi (Snow Peak, Inc.), U.S.A)

Mr. Basanta Bantawa RAI (Katsuya by Starck, U.A.E)

Mr. Chih-Fan TSAI (Shinyeh Japanese Buffet, Taiwan)

Mr. Luis Fernando YSCAVA (Hidden By 2nd Floor, Brazil)

 

The six finalists have triumphed in a particularly unusual year that saw Washoku World Challenge move online for the very first time, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing record numbers of people to the competition.

 

Of the 199 applicants, from 41 different countries and regions, 15 were shortlisted and have been busy completing two further assignments over the past months. The first asked each contestant to film the creation of a dish that demonstrates their flair and expertise in at least one of the five primary cooking methods of Japanese cuisine: “nama” (cutting), “niru” (simmering), “yaku” (grilling), “musu” (steaming) and “ageru” (deep-frying). The second required each contestant to deliver a filmed interview explaining the dish in more detail, in dialogue with their vision and approach to Washoku.

 

These filmed assignments were judged by: Head Judge, Mr. Yoshihiro MURATA (Owner & Chef of “Kikunoi”, Chairman of the Japanese Culinary Academy and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador); Deputy Head Judge, Mr. Masahiro NAKATA (Director of Taiwa Gakuen Education Incorporated and President of Kyoto Culinary Art College); Judge, Mr. Masahiro KASAHARA (Owner & Chef of “Sanpiryoron”); Judge, Ms. Fumiko KONO (Culinary Consultant) and Judge, Mr. Naoyuki YANAGIHARA (Executive Chef of Kinsa-ryu Yanagihara School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador) and after much careful deliberation six outstanding finalists were selected.

 

The dishes presented by the 2020 finalists are:

Corn soup with marinated sea bass and egg yolk curated in seaweed

 

Ms. Naumi CARVAJAL UEMURA (Uemura, Spain)

 

Assorted Appetizers

 

Mr. Man Fong HO (Edo Japanese Restaurant, Macau)

Autumn Matsutake Owan

 

Mr. Alex KIM (Takibi (Snow Peak, Inc.), U.S.A)

Grilled Hamachikama with dashi tomato sauce and Nimono vegetables

 

Mr. Basanta Bantawa RAI (Katsuya by Starck, U.A.E)

“Dignified Moon”

 

Mr. Chih-Fan TSAI (Shinyeh Japanese Buffet, Taiwan)

 

Pork Belly with corn and shiso

 

Mr. Luis Fernando YSCAVA (Hidden By 2nd Floor, Brazil)

 

Head Judge, Mr. Yoshihiro MURATA, said: We are grateful to the many people from all over the world for their entries – more than we have ever received before. The online cooking contest was challenging to judge because it was not possible to taste the dishes, but through the video presentations, we could really see the skills and attitude towards cooking, and feel the passion for Japanese cuisine in every submission. Furthermore, by making this an online contest, I think we were able to more widely disseminate Japanese cuisine and food culture around the world. Interest in Japanese cuisine is increasing across the globe, and in order for people to learn about it, it is important to continue to share the knowledge and expertise required to open up the wonders of authentic Japanese cuisine”.

 

For further information and photos of the finalists and their creations, please click here and to watch the official announcement film introduced by Head Judge, Mr. Yoshihiro MURATA, featuring comments on each of the dishes from the Judges, please click here.

 

All six finalists will now enjoy a one-on-one online masterclass with one of three world-leading Washoku Chefs: Mr. Yoshihiro MURATA (Owner & Chef of “Kikunoi”, Chairman of the Japanese Culinary Academy and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador); Mr. Takuji TAKAHASHI (CEO of the Kinobu restaurant in Kyoto and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador); and Mr. Naoyuki YANAGIHARA (Executive Chef of Kinsa-ryu Yanagihara School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador*). The masterclasses will take place between January and late February 2021 offering an exceptional opportunity for each finalist to receive guidance, expertise and insights – tailored to their needs – direct from Japan.

 

To learn more about Washoku cuisine, from its origins to the final presentation of a dish, a raft of articles and short films from leading experts can be found here.

 

For further information on Washoku World Challenge click here or follow us: @WashokuWorldChallenge on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.