Chefs Compete for Top Honors at USA Rice Cooking Contest

Group shot of chefs wearing toques and other people wearing business attire
Participants and their judges
Oct 04, 2019
TOKYO, JAPAN – “Sushi Salad Style” was the theme of the 7th annual Chef’s Contest, hosted by USA Rice and showcasing ten chef finalists who competed here at the final cook-off.  The ten professional chefs were selected from 116 applicants; eight of the finalists represented restaurants, while two were from deli operations.  

Yuki Sasaki, executive chef with Kyushu Airlines, won first prize with his “Sushi Rolls in Hot Spring Paprika with Borscht-Style Cold Soup Salad.”  His company, Kyushu Airlines, no longer operates as an airline but is principally in the photography business, and also hosts weddings and special events.  

According to Kuniaki Aoshima, a well-known recipe consultant and veteran judge at the contest, the quality and creativity of this year’s dishes were the best, from top to bottom, that he has witnessed to date.  Aoshima said this made the judging very difficult for him and the other four judges.

In addition, there were three winners in the student chef division, chosen from 262 entrants.

“We host these contests to demonstrate the quality and versatility of U.S. medium grain rice in the foodservice industry,” said Jim Guinn, USA Rice director of Asia promotion programs, who handed out the awards at the contest.  “It generates a lot of positive publicity in food trade publications, and interest in culinary training institutions.  Plus many past contestants return to their establishments and continue to prepare and feature their competition dishes on their restaurant menus.”