Taste of Japan

The Taste of Japan Honorary Award Ceremony Held in Madrid and Washington D.C. A great opportunity to promote Japanese cuisines / ingredients

The Taste of Japan Honorary Award Ceremony Held in Madrid and Washington D.C. A great opportunity to promote Japanese cuisines / ingredients

On February 7, 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries held the Taste of Japan Honorary Award ceremony in Washington D.C. in the U.S.

In Madrid, six recipients including Masahito Okazoe, the chef of a kaiseki-course restaurant that offers the authentic taste of Tosa, have received awards. Also, promotional activities for Japanese cuisines and Japanese food ingredients were taken place including a cooking show using wagyu beef, Japanese sake tasting by sake sommeliers, etc. In Washington D.C., Daikawa Group, an initiator of the local ramen boom in the area, was awarded. Then a panel discussion was conduced with the theme of the “charm of Japanese noodles” along with a promotional activity for Japanese cuisines and Japanese food ingredients implemented by offering tasting of ramen, somen, and Japanese sake.

About the Taste of Japan Honorary Award

The purpose of the Taste of Japan Honorary Award is to applaud the effort and achievement of people and groups, who have been enthusiastic in taking meaningful activities to promote Japanese cuisines in overseas, in which Japan-made food ingredients are enthusiastically used / sold, the greatness of Japanese cuisines are delivered to many people, and food educations are conducted at a local level through communiocations with relevant people. The recipients of the awards are chosen by the Taste of Japan Association established in the cities of the ceremony.

Overview of the Madrid Japanese Cuisine Event

● Date: January 26, 2017 (Thu)

● Venue: PLATEA MADRID (Calle de Goya, 5-7, 28001 Madrid)


(Left:The Taste of Japan Honorary Award ceremony)

(Right:A cooking demonstration using wagyu beef and Japanese rice by Chef Matsuhisa (Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador), Chef Okazoe (a recipient of the Taste of Japan Honorary Award 2016))

Ferran Adrià, the representative of elBulli foundation and one of the award recipients in Madrid, said “Japanese food ingredient is more than just an ingredient, and we have devoted to re-produce it in our dishes”, while admiring the beauty of Japanese cuisines and Japanese food ingredients.

The award recipients and their profile

The division of Chef Japonés de Cocina Japonesa (the division of Japanese cuisines / Japanese chef)

Award recipient: Masahito Okazoe (a chef at Japanese restaurant “IZARIA”)

Okazoe is a chef of a traditional kaiseki-course restaurant in Madrid called IZARIYA, which serves the authentic regional taste of the Tosa region. He delivers the philosophy of Japanese cuisines in Spain with his dishes cooked with high quality Japanese ingredients and his great cooking skills.

The division of Chef Español de Cocina Japonesa (the division of Spanish chefs)

Award recipient: Pedro Espina (a chef of Restaurant SOY)

After trained at some of Japanese restaurants in Madrid, Espina opened his own restaurant called SOY. He is regarded as a pioneer chef of Japanese cuisines in Spain.

The division of Restaurante con Espíritu Japonés (the division of Japan Spirit Restaurant)

Award recipient: Mugaritz (Basque Country)

Produced by Andoni Luis Aduriz, the restaurant is always placed at a higher rank in the World’s Most Beautiful Restaurant ranking list as they serve experimential and innovative dishes. It has been enthusiastic in introducing Japanese ingredients and Japanese sake.

The Importador division (the importers division)

Award recipient: TOKYO-YA

The store opened in 1981 as the first Japanese ingredient store in Madrid. Since then, TOKYO-YA has been importing and selling a variety of Japanese food ingredients. TOKYO-YA have contributed to the promotion of Japanese sake to Spain as they opened a bar called “Shuwa” in 2016 that is specialized in Japanese sake.

Figura Pública (the Celebrity division)

Award recipient: Ferran Adrià (the representative of elBulli foundation)

Ferran Adria is a chef of elBulli, who has created an innovation in the culinary field. Although his restaurant was closed in 2011, his great influence still remains in the industry. His collaboration work with MIBU / GINZA has been drawn in a cartoon titled MIBU- ELBULLI.

Publicación Divulgativa sobre Gastronomía Japonesa (the division of publishing companies on Japanese cuisines)

Award recipient: NORMA EDITORIAL

NORMA EDITORIAL is a cartoon publishing company in Spain in 1981. They have succeeded in promoting Japanese cuisines to local people by publishing Japanese cartoons in Spanish language including MIBU- ELBULLI and OISHINBO .

The members of the Taste of Japan Association in Spain

The association is an action body for Taste of Japan based mainly in Madrid, Spain. It consists of the following six members.

・Hideki Matsuhisa (owner chef of Koy Shunka in Barcelona)

・Yanet Acosta Meneses (Director of Master of Communication and Gastronomic Journalism at The Foodie Studies)

・Esmeralda Capel (MADRID FUSION: Director of International Relations and Consulting)

・Pablo Alomar Salvioni (importer of Japanese Sake)

・Roger Ortuño Flamerich (Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador)

・Jorge Breton Prats (Lecturer , Chef , Gastronomic adviser & coordinator of The Basque Culinary Cente)

・Staff from the Japanese Embassy in Spain as a observer

Overview of the Japanese Cuisine Day in Washington event

●Date: February 7, 2017 (Tue)

● Venue: Mess Hall (703 Edgewood St, NE, DC 20017)


(Left:The Taste of Japan Honorary Award Ceremony)

(Right:During the Forum)

Daisuke Utagawa, the representative of an awarded group “Daikaya” in Washington D.C., presented his speech for the award saying “I believe this award was given to us all as a team. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The profile of the award recipient

Daikaya Group (http://www.daikaya.com/)

Daikaya Ramen, the most popular Sapporo ramen restaurant in Washington D.C., is well-known as an initiator of the ramen boom in the region. Their clear soup called Chintan Soup, which is made by cooking chicken, pork, and beef for 16 hours, is the most notable characteristic of their ramen. The restaurant uses noodles that are made in Japan.

The Taste of Japan Association in Washington D.C.

The association is an action body of Taste of Japan based on mainly Washington D.C. in the US. It consists of the following nine members.
・Al Goldberg (the founder of Mess Hall)

・David Hagedorn (Food writer)

・Laura Hayes ( the food writer of Washington City Paper)

・Hiroaki Kojima (the counselor of the Japanese Embassy in the US)

・Kristin Rohor (the brand ambassador of Guest Services)

・Takashi Sato (the representative of San-J International, Inc.)

・Julie Sproesser(the managing director of the restaurant association of Washington D.C.)

・Nobuhiro Yamasaki (the owner / chef of Sushi Taro) – a recipient of Taste of Japan Award in 2015

・Eric Ziebold (the owner / chef of Kinship and Métier)

– a recipient of Taste of Japan Award in 2015