Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries(MAFF) announced the winners of the third annual Minister’s Award Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food last week. 5 people were selected as follows:
Yasuo Kumoda spent 20 years to create a “tofu” market in the US. He challenged to gain tofu recognition as a “health food” among US consumers. Toshiro Konishi owns a Japanese restaurant in Peru. He has been training professional chefs in the fine art of Japanese cuisine and teaching at local universities and cooking schools. Tai Tak Fung imported Japanese food ingredients for many years in Hong Kong. Markus Hastenpflug of Germany has been promoting Japanese green tea in Europe, Russia, Qatar and the US. He visited retailers and stores door to door. Kunio Yoneda established the Japanese Chef Association US Branch as well as the Japanese Restaurant Association in the US.
Nobu Matsuhisa won the award last year. The winners all took advantage of being the first movers and shakers and made it. I truly admire them. Everybody in the world now knows sushi. Can sushi be the Pizza of 21st century? Or, ramen? Only food knows.