Washoku World Challenge The 11th Competition

About the Washoku World Challenge

“Washoku World Challenge” is a Japanese cuisine competition organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan for non-Japanese chefs who are deeply interested in Japanese cuisine and who are eager to improve their knowledge and skills.

This year marks the 11th competition of the Washoku World Challenge.

Approaching the 10th anniversary of the registration of “WASHOKU” as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, this year’s competition will be a new challenge for Japanese cuisine to make a further leap forward.

This time, three regional competitions (Europe, America, and Asia) will be held for the chefs who have passed in the document screening: to determine the winners of each region.

The European competition will be held in London, the American in New York, and the Asian in Singapore. Each regional competition is open to six competitors.

This year’s theme is “Your Perspective on Japanese Cuisine”. Using “UMAMI,” the unifying theme of the competition, as the basis for the key elements, please cook with your ideas for Japanese cuisine using Japanese ingredients that are available in the region and environment in which you live.

This is a very good chance to see how much you know about Japanese cuisine. Don’t miss it!

Participation benefits

For Competitors Advancing to the Regional Competition,

A Japanese cuisine workshop by top Japanese cuisine chefs will be offered.
It will be a great opportunity to learn practical techniques directly from top Japanese chefs!

*We will offer transportation fee, accommodation fees, and the cost of ingredients. (UP to $500)

For the top winners in each Regional Competition,

You will be invited to special training under the guidance of a chef at a Japanese restaurant in Japan for about two weeks from the end of January to mid-February.

It will be an excellent opportunity to learn even more detailed Japanese cuisine techniques and knowledge from Japan’s top chefs.


A Message from the Head Judge

Japanese cuisine is supported by the perfection of dashi. The underlying concept is to create harmony of taste and flavor by adding ingredients and a few seasonings based on the umami of the dashi. However, there is no clear definition of Japanese cuisine other than this concept. For this reason, Japanese cuisine can be said to possess a diversity and freedom of possibilities not found in the cuisines of other countries.

There is no formula that says Japanese cuisine must be this way. If you can make a delicious dish using dashi properly without relying on oil, fat, or salt, even though it might be completely different from Japanese sensibilities, you may call that Japanese cuisine as well.

I look forward to seeing new Japanese cuisine that makes the most of umami, based on your own perspective.

Head Judge

MURATA Yoshihiro

Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador
Owner & Chef of Kikunoi
Honorary Chairman of the Japanese Culinary Academy

Advices from the Deputy Head Judge

In 2013, “WASHOKU” was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Ten years have passed since then, and it is said that there are now nearly 160,000 restaurants of Japanese cuisine in the world. We believe that this means that WASHOKU/Japanese cuisine is now recognized around the world.

This year’s 11th Washoku World Challenge will be different from the previous 10 competitions. It will be a new challenge for everyone. While respecting the umami-based concept of Japanese cuisine, we encourage you to create your own original Japanese cuisine, which you believe to be the best, by combining Japanese and local ingredients in a well-balanced manner.

We also believe that this competition will not only be a chance for you to check your own skills, but also a wonderful opportunity to learn about Japanese cuisine, including culinary training at a top Japanese restaurant. As a step toward your future goal of becoming a top Japanese cuisine chef, participating in this competition will be a great impetus for you to further develop your skills in Japanese cuisine.

We hope you will take up this challenge for your own personal growth. We look forward to the participation of many chefs in the Washoku World Challenge, which serves as a gateway to success for those aspiring to become Japanese cuisine chefs.

Deputy Head Judge

NAKATA Masahiro

Director of Taiwa Gakuen Inc.
Director of Taiwa Gakuen Hospitality Industry Development Center

The basics of Japanese cuisine “Five Flavors, Five Colors, Five Ways”

A fundamental concept of Japanese cuisine is “Five Flavors, Five Colors, Five Ways (of cooking).” The five flavors are: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and UMAMI. The five colors are: red, blue/green, yellow, white, and black. The five ways of cooking are: cutting, simmering, grilling, steaming, and deep-frying. By combining these, Japanese cuisine brings out the full, mouthwatering potential of each ingredient.