• Feature

Finger Foods
The World of Bite-Sized Art

  • delicious Japan
  • May 2020

Yoshie Maruyama
Finger Food Specialist, Japan Finger Food Association
Instagram: @yoshie_maruyama
Website: Japan Finger Food Association | Le Coeur

What is “Finger Food”?

They are bite-sized dishes that easy to pick up. Called bite-sized works of art, edible gems, and the like, they can take forms ranging from hors d’oeuvres to desserts.

What is the greatest attraction of finger foods?

It’s hard to put into one word, but above all, it’s their gorgeous colorfulness.
Finger foods go beyond genres like Japanese, Western, and ethnic, and can be put into diverse menus to support vegan and gluten-free needs.
They express a comprehensive world view and take nutritional balance into consideration, so another attraction is that they can be described as health-oriented foods.

Tell us about finger foods in other countries.

For example, they are called pinchos in Spain, and amuse bouche in France. In Japan, dishes like sushi and takoyaki (battered octopus) can be described as finger foods.

What are the background and progress of finger foods?

In Japan, they have rapidly become familiar and taken the spotlight in the last two years or so. I am the director and founder of Japan Finger Food Association, which has drawn students from many countries and regions since its foundation in 2017, producing over 200 graduates. I think the diverse and deep world of finger food is a good fit with the diversity that is now emphasized in society. That might be one factor in the way finger foods have charmed people and made progress.

In Europe, it is becoming the established style to pick up finger foods together with wine in bars before a meal.

How did you first encounter finger food?

At a French restaurant, where I was charmed by how cute and delicious it was. That prompted me to make my own.

What are your current activities?

We are working to bring the appeal and value of finger foods to as many people as possible. Other than lessons at the Association, we use catering, media appearances, outside teaching and the like. Gorgeous finger foods are just right for parties, but we are also developing everyday menus with items for the tables of ordinary homes, and to attract people with reduced appetites.

What are your aims for the future?

Finger foods are packed with elements that make meals enjoyable, like their splendid appearance, nutrition, ease of eating, and satisfaction, and I want to open them up to situations other than parties, so that men and women of all ages can enjoy them. The Japan Finger Food Association can also open certified schools where anyone can earn a diploma. We will provide support so that graduates can contribute to society through finger foods, and we want to work with them to invigorate the industry, keeping a constantly fresh perspective. This year, we will open certified schools in Bangkok, Seoul, and New York. We will also open an online salon, as a new initiative.

By providing finger food ideas from outside teachers, private lessons, and a forum for communications between members, we want to make it easy for many more people to learn about finger foods.