Singapore – Demonstrating their knowledge and sushi making techniques and best practices in hygienic sushi preparation, 15 sushi chefs from top hotels and Japanese restaurants across the country pitted their skills against each other today, for the honour of representing Singapore at the Global Sushi Challenge 2015. The international finals, which will take place in Tokyo this November, is organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) and the World Sushi Skills Institute of Japan (WSSI).
Held at the SHATEC Culinary Institute, the Global Sushi Challenge Singapore Nationals was a spectacle of culinary creativity, impressive knife handling skills and precision timing. With only 90 minutes to spare, the chefs had to prepare a platter of traditional Edo Mae Sushi – sushi classics that originated in Tokyo during the 1820s – as well as present 20 pieces of their own original creative sushi creations, moriawase style, all under the watchful eyes of the judges.
In addition to taste and overall balance, plating, cutting and placement of seafood, the finalists were also evaluated on their practical capabilities in the organization of the preparation and presentation of sushi, including aspects such as personal and work hygiene, ethic, food wastage and utilization of salmon.
After more than an hour of evaluation, the panel of judges – Mr Masayoshi Kazato, Executive
Director of the World Sushi Skills Institute and well-known local chefs Otto Weibel, Edmund Toh and Kenjiro Hashida of Hashida Sushi – selected Damien Tan King Meng from Hide Yamomoto at Marina Bay Sands as the winner.
A sushi chef of more than 13 years, Damien impressed the judges with his modern interpretation of classical edo mae sushi which he enhanced with hints of olive oil and delicate sauces infused with marinated tomatoes, onions and and home made yuzu sauce.
Representing Singapore, Damien will compete against other top sushi chef challengers from 14 countries across Asia, Europe and America, who will also be vying for the global title of the inaugural event. In addition to the all expenses paid trip to Tokyo, Damien also wins a cash prize of S$1,000.00.
“We are delighted with the enthusiastic response to this inaugural Global Sushi Challenge here in Singapore, which has attracted the participation of very experienced and high caliber sushi chefs”, said Jon Erik Steenslid, NSC’s Regional Director for South-East Asia. “With the impressive culinary standards and creative skills that we have witnessed today, there is no doubt that Singapore is poised to make an indelible mark on the global sushi culinary scene.”
Special recognition also went to Chef Yap Wee Leong from Yamagawa Japanese Restaurant who received the Global Sushi Challenge Special Media Award as the most outstanding chef of the Original Creative Sushi category, as selected by a special panel of media judges. His garden city inspired platter was both appealing to the eye and very pleasing to the palate, wowing the judges with his carefully crafted floral themed sushi selection.
In bringing together Japan’s tradition of sushi and Norway’s position as the leading producer of quality salmon, the sushi topping of choice across the world, Global Sushi Challenge 2015 seeks to not only identify talented chefs skilled in the field of Japanese sushi, but also promote the principles of the hygienic handling of fish and seafood to safeguard its quality of being enjoyed raw.
About Norwegian Seafood Council
Founded in 1991 by the Ministry of Fisheries, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) builds awareness of and educates the public on seafood from Norway. Headquartered in Tromsø, Norway with a Southeast Asian branch in Singapore, the NSC carries out Norwegian Seafood promotional, media, marketing and public relations campaigns and is a resource for market information in more than 20 different markets. Its efforts are financed by the Norwegian seafood industry itself. As the world’s second-largest exporter of seafood, Norway provides quality, nutrient-rich seafood to over 150 different countries and is the world's largest joint marketer of seafood.
About World Sushi Skills Institute
The World Sushi Skills Institute (WSSI) is part of All Japan Sushi Association endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan. WSSI conduct sushi skills seminars and workshops around the world, promoting hygiene, art of sushi and aiming to increase the knowledge about sushi and “train the trainers” who can demonstrate correct skills and raise the quality of sushi chefs abroad with special focus on hygienic and safe handling of seafood for raw consumption.
Source: Norwegian Seafood Council