Toyama Chef Wins Gold Medal at the Culinary Olympics


Originally written for the Vol.6-No.5 edition (January 21, 2013) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

Tsutomu Momoi, chef at Toyama Jiyukan in Toyama City, received an individual gold medal at the 23rd IKA/Culinary Olympics held in Erfurt, Germany, from October 5th to October 10th, 2012. According to the Toyama office of the All Japan Chefs Association, this was the first ever gold medal for Toyama Prefecture, and the first gold medal in twelve years for Japan.

The Culinary Olympics are held once every four years, and this event is the largest international culinary competition in the world, with a history of over one hundred years. This 2012 event had about 1,500 participants from a total of over 50 countries. In Momoi’s division, 35 individuals prepared and arranged hors d’oeuvres to compete for five gold medals.

The title of Momoi’s submission was “Blessings of the Sea,” which combined seafood and vegetables. Culinary creations such as terrine of Toyama Bay shiroebi (white shrimp), amaebi (sweet shrimp), and squid, black rice risotto, warm Ise ebi (Japanese spiny lobster) and sole mousse with caramelized ris de veau (sweetbread) were carefully arranged on a heart-shaped board. The contrast between the red amaebi and the white shiroebi was eye-catching. The display also included flexible wares from the foundry Nousaku, based in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture, and traditional Japanese paper with cherry blossom print.

Momoi’s distinctive talent is his ability to maximize the flavor and beauty of each raw ingredient. His work is beautiful and unique, and the way Momoi manages to blend innovation and tradition is sure to have captivated the contest judges.

Momoi’s participation in the Culinary Olympics also presented a promotional opportunity for Toyama Prefecture. On Momoi’s display table, there were posters of Toyama sushi and of the Tateyama Mountain Range towering over the Amaharashi Coast. Momoi is certified as a “Toyama Culinary Artisan,” and has excellent knowledge and skills regarding the food of Toyama. Momoi reflected after the event, “Toyama has a lot of world-class ingredients, and I feel grateful every day… I’m happy that I got to meet chefs from around the world, and to promote Japan’s food culture as well as ingredients from Toyama.”

Source (article and image): Toyama Just Now