• Chef must be of non-Japanese nationality with experience in cooking Japanese cuisine AND over 2 years of experience as a chef (current place of residence can be any country, including Japan).
  • Chef must be able to participate in one of the five qualifying tournaments.
  • Past participants and tournament winners are eligible to apply again.

Application Process

Final Tournament

January 28th and 29th, 2019 (Tokyo) Please refer to the SCHEDULE page for details on the application screening and qualifying tournament schedules.

  • * Travel and hotel expenses for qualifying tournaments are to be paid for by the contestants.
  • * Travel and hotel expenses for the final tournament will be covered by the contest organizing committee.
  • * There is no participation fee.

Submission Requirements

Recipe and photos must be of original dishes created by the applicant, the restaurant managed by the applicant, or the restaurant where the applicant is employed, and must not have received an award in any contest.

  • * Recipes for sweets, snacks, desserts, and drinks are excluded from this contest.

1st Stage: Application Screening


1. One nimonowan (with five ingredients) reflecting the UMAMI and IRODORI themes

The soup must use dashi made from kombu kelp and bonito flakes (120 to 150ml of dashi broth to be used for one person)

The ingredients must cover all of the below:
  • 1 wandane
    • The main ingredient. Fish, shellfish, or or surimi made from either/both of these.
  • 3 wanzuma
    • Vegetables.
  • 1 kaori
    • Citrus or sprout of an aromatic plant.
  • * Contestants that pass the application screening will be asked to make this nimonowan at the qualifying tournament (for five people, in 90 minutes).
  • * The dish should be prepared with an emphasis on IRODORI and the balance between the size of the bowl and size of each ingredient.
  • * Please use ingredients that are assumed to be available in Japan Examples of ingredients: Ebishinjo (prawn dumpling), Donko mushrooms, Carrots, Green beans (Ingen beans), Sansho leaf bud
  • * Photo is just one example
What is nimonowan?
Nimonowan is a soup served as part of Japanese kaiseki – a refined, multi-course meal. Considered the most important course, it is a distillation of the chef’s knowledge, skills, and talent. Prepared seasonal fish and/or shellfish are placed in a bowl, accompanied by carefully selected vegetables. Soup flavored just right is poured in, topped with an aromatic ingredient, and the lid gently closed. The customer receives the dish, excited to know what is inside. When the lid is lifted, an aroma indicative of the season fills the air and stirs the appetite. The arrangement and IRODORI of the food inside delights the eyes, and the delectable flavors soothing to the soul.
Nimonowan differs from suimono in bowl size, amount of soup, and size of ingredients.

2. One assortment of five Japanese appetizers which reflects the UMAMI and IRODORI themes

  • * Photo is just one example

Preparing Application Documents

  • Two photos total should be submitted, one for each of the assignments mentioned above.
  • In order to ensure fair judging, please avoid having the name of the restaurant or applicant appear in the photos.
  • The budget for both dishes should be reasonable in your country.


  • Judges will evaluate based on a recipe and one photo for “1. Nimonowan”, and one photo (no recipe) for “2. Assortment of Appetizers”.
  • For this Application Document Screening stage, “1. Nimonowan” will be worth 70 points maximum, and “2. Assortment of Appetizers” 20 points maximum, for a full score of 90 points.

How to Apply and Notification of Screening Results

Please refer to the SCHEDULE page for details and updates.


Head Judge
Yoshihiro Murata
Owner & Chef of Kikunoi / Chairman of Japanese Culinary Academy
Deputy Head Judge
Masahiro Nakata
Director of Taiwa Gakuen Education Inc. / President of Kyoto Culinary Art College
Kimio Nonaga
Lisa Du
Reporter, Bloomberg News

1. Enter the contest

Please enter the contest BEFORE sending in your recipe.



2. Send recipe

Please click on “Enter contest” first. Then, send the recipe in one of two possible ways:
Click on “Send recipe”, fill in the form, and submit;
Click on “Download recipe form (Word)”, fill in the form, and submit via email.

2. Send recipe Download recipe form(Word)

For how to fill in the recipe form, please click on “Download sample recipe (PDF).”

Download sample recipe (PDF)