"Natural Food: Audition to Discover New Recipes"The 47th International Hotel and Restaurant Show held from February 19th to 22nd, 2019 at Tokyo Big Sight presented the Second "Natural Food: Audition to Discover New Recipes" as one of its showcase events.
This unprecedented new initiative to use natural food recipes to link cooks with companies has been attracting more attention every year. The 2019 event featured a white-hot high-level showdown between a total of eight fi nalists, four in the Main Dishes Division and four in the Sweets Division, who passed through the preliminary review.
The aim of this unique event program is to boost Japan’s natural foods market and raise the quality of natural food products. Behind this background, in addition to the changing lifestyles of Japanese people and a growing orientation towards health, the growth in numbers of foreigners visiting Japan is promoting much greater diversifi cation in dietary habits. In 2018 the number of foreign travelers visiting Japan exceeded 31.19 million, so it is said to be essential to meet their food needs. Natural foods, which includes a diverse range of items, is a category that will be much more in demand from now on in hotels, ryokan inns, and the food service industry.
Among the judges, Toshiyuki Kato of Take & Give Needs Co., Ltd commented that Among the judges, Toshiyuki Kato of Take & Give Needs Co., Ltd. commented that "Natural food still doesn't have a culture or a form as a cuisine, in the way that French or Italian food have. It is necessary to establish natural cuisine as a new genre, including its defi nition, and in that regard, this event has extraordinary value going forward. It would be wonderful if it prompted more people to think about, and reconsider, health, the environment, and their lifestyles."
The eight finalists who passed the preliminary review were divided into two divisions, for main dishes and sweets. The four finalists chosen for each category worked on cooking demonstrations at the same time. The five assessment criteria were (1) Originality, (2) How natural ingredients are used, (3) Finished appearance (photogenic appeal), (4) Nutritional balance, (5) Unit price and costs, with an actual tasting review by nine professional judges.
In the Main Dishes Division, "Milk potage of black sesame and sprouted brown rice with powdered konjac" by food coordinator Ari Takanashi took the Grand Prix, and "Vegan calamari rings in a sauce excluding the five pungent roots of Buddhism”, by macrobiotic stylist Naomi Takahashi took the Special Recognition Award. In the Sweets Division, the Grand Prix and the Special Recognition Award went to “Strawberry unicorn raw cheese cake" by raw food meister Ritsuko Narushima, in a dazzling double win.
"Natural Food: Audition to Discover New Recipes" is already decided to continue in February 2020. This unprecedented natural food event is certain to gather much more attention next year in line with the opening of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is hoped that it will continue to serve to strengthen and stimulate Japan's natural food industry, bringing more variety in natural foods to Japan's dining tables.