This Year’s Theme: My Japanese Cuisine

This year’s theme, “My Japanese Cuisine” aims to appeal to non-Japanese chefs of Japanese cuisine, as well as chefs who are interested in Japanese food and food culture and students who want to become chefs.

Japanese cuisine has been developed around ‘dashi culture’, with emphasis on UMAMI. Using the precious ingredients bestowed by nature, Japanese cuisine incorporates 5 main cooking methods; Cutting, Simmering, Grilling, Deep-frying and Steaming.
However, Japanese chefs are not the only ones in pursuit of the spirit and skills of Japanese cuisine.
Just as a French Restaurant which has gained popularity by incorporating elements of Japanese cuisine has been awarded 3 Michelin stars, the global presence of Japanese cuisine is spreading, and is adapted and integrated into the food cultures of other countries.

Everyone has his / her own different idea and impression of a cuisine. We hope that you will all demonstrate your knowledge and skills of, and passion for Japanese cuisine in your dishes!
We hope you will join this contest expressing your onw way of “My Japanese Cuisine”.

We look forward to receiving your applications.

Contest Theme: UMAMI

Since its 5th year, the contest theme of the Washoku World Challenge has been UMAMI, which is the essential taste at the heart of Japanese cuisine.

What is UMAMI?

UMAMI is the source of the savoriness of Japanese cuisine. It is one of the five basic tastes, the others being sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness, and an important component of a dish’s flavor. Recognition of UMAMI has increased in recent years, and the word has made its way into many non-Japanese dictionaries. The UMAMI taste is usually a product of some combination of inosinic acid, amino acids such as glutamic acid, and nucleic acids such as guanylic acid. In Japan, the technique of extracting UMAMI from kombu kelp and bonito flakes to create dashi broth was developed approximately 500 years ago. Many cookbooks were published in the mid-Edo period (around 1651-1745), and these strongly advocated the importance of dashi. Japan has a long history of valuing dashi highly, and its UMAMI has brought out the flavors of ingredients and played key roles in the creation of delectable dishes.

Eligibility to Application

Application is restricted to those of non-Japanese nationality who fulfill the following conditions:

* applications will be accepted regardless of whether the applicants live in or outside of Japan.

  • Chefs of Japanese cuisine
  • Chefs who are interested in Japanese food and food culture
  • Culinary students who study Japanese cuisine and want to become chefs
  • Students studying at Japanese culinary institutions and those involved in Japanese cooking programs in Japan
  • Contestants of past contests

Application Flow

  1. Application

    Benefit 1
    Applicants Only
    Special educational videos
  3. Paper Screening
  4. 15 contestants
    to be selected

    Benefit 2
    15 contestants Only
    Special kits
    delivered from Japan
  5. Video Screening
  6. 6 finalists
    to be selected

  7. Special Event for Finalists

* The Special Kits will be delivered after finishing Video Screening.


  1. Application Open:
    Tuesday, September 1st, 2020
    Deadline for Paper screening: Monday, October 5th
  2. Results: Thursday, October 22nd
  3. Deadline for Recipe and Photo Submissions:
    Saturday, October 31st
  4. Deadline for Video Submission: Tuesday, November 17th
  5. Announcement of the Finalist: Monday, December 21st

*Schedule may be subject to change without notice. We appreciate your understanding.

Participation benefits

Special Benefits of Participation at Every Stage!

Upon your application
we will provide you with special educational videos to learnthe essence of Japanese cuisine!
For those who pass the first stage
we will deliver a special kit to learn about Japanese food and food culture at home!
For successful finalists
we will offer a private online lecture by a top Japanese chef !

It is sure to be a special learning time and invaluable experience for the six finalists realizing their wishes.