The Washoku World Challenge is a cooking contest in which Japanese cuisine chefs from all over the world compete in technical expertise and passion for Japanese food. The contest, the 5th of its kind, is organized by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for non-Japanese chefs. On Feb. 13th-14th, 2018, six finalists from 5 countries and regions gathered for the final tournament held in Tokyo, and David Israelow (private chef) from the United States won 1st Place. The second place was a tie between two contestants, Christopher Brian Massad (Tankuma Kitamise) from the United States and Daniele Codini (The Ned London) from Italy.

The theme of the Competition this year was UMAMI, which contestants sent their two original recipes (Suimono and Fuchidaka Mori) reflecting it for the application screening. Approximately 100 contestants from 23 countries and regions had applied for the competition and 43 advanced to the qualifying tournaments. The Qualifying tournaments was held in six cities (London, New York, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Tokyo) for the first time in the Competition’s history. At the qualifying tournaments, they were judged strictly on their basic knife skills using Daikon (Japanese radish) and making Suimono using dashi.

On day one of the final tournament, the screening was done by making New Year’s Nimonowan, using same ingredients and preparation for their Fuchidaka Mori dish. On day two, contestants completed five Fuchidaka Mori dish cooking in a limited time.

The winner, David Israelow was selected for his sophisticated work reflecting traditional style and menu. He was also good at choosing ingredients using his knowledge. For example, the spinach he chose was one of a special type that is available only in winter season. These aspects surprised the Head Judge of the Competition and all the judges were very much impressed by the high-quality workmanship of every contestants.

Watch the video of Final tournament

FINALISTS and their Suimono and Fuchidaka

Tokyo winner (Uniform Number 1)

Christopher Brian Massad (Tankuma Kitamise) from the United States

Hong Kong winner (Uniform Number 2)

Wai Leung Ronald Ho (Matsunichi) from Hong Kong

Bangkok winner (Uniform Number 3)

Jidtinan Yotapakdee (Nihon Tei Inter-Co.Ltd.) from Thailand

New York winner (Uniform Number 4)

David Israelow (Private chef) from the United States

London winner (Uniform Number 5)

Daniele Codini (The Ned London) from Italy

Los Angeles winner (Uniform Number 6)

Samuel Flores Garcia(Restaurante Suntory Lomas) from Mexico

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