From education to employment

Tokyo College of Sushi and Washoku, London celebrates with the winners of Zest Quest Asia

The Tokyo College of Sushi and Washoku, London was celebrating with Phoebe Tuttle, Beth Brewster and Joe Defries, and their lecturer, Andy Gabbitas, of The Sheffield College, on their winning the 2024 Zest Quest Asia crown last month.

But the competition that sees a team of three full time, UK based student chefs competing at the highest level to win a culinary trip to an Asian destination, also commended other talented young chefs who demonstrated their skills on the day of the cook-off.

Prize winners included North Hertfordshire College who scooped an all expenses paid, week’s tuition at the Tokyo College of Sushi and Washoku, London for the Best Presented Menu, and New College Durham won a demonstration in Japanese skills at their own college for Best Menu Planning and the Andrew Bennett Teamwork Award.

For the Tokyo College of Sushi and Washoku, London, Zest Quest Asia is an ideal partnership opportunity as it launches onto the UK student chef circuit; its own facilities are set to open in September 2024 when it will be offering courses in the art of washoku, which incorporates the proficiencies required to make a host of authentic Japanese dishes, including rice preparation, cutting and presentation for sushi, making dashi from scratch and learning about the wider Japanese food culture and its traditions.

Since UNESCO registered washoku as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013, popularity in Japanese cuisine has grown – an estimate in 2020 showed the number of Japanese restaurants outside of Japan growing by 20% between 2021 and 20231 but washoku, which encompasses many practices around traditional Japanese cuisine is still masked in mystique and intrigue. 

Masaru Watanabe, Principle, Tokyo College of Sushi and Washoku, London says,”I have learnt so much since relocating to London to oversee this project to open the very first Japanese Government accredited college outside of Japan.  I know that the student chefs in the UK are hungry to learn about our food culture and the preparation of traditional Japanese dishes but until now, there hasn’t been an opportunity for them to do so in an authentic way, that teaches them the full spectrum of skills.  With our Japanese chefs delivering training in English, we can start on a journey of discovery together and Zest Quest Asia gives us a great platform to begin.”

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