A Gala Celebration Benefitting The Gohan Society for Washoku Ambassador Award and WASHOKU Named UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage
Thursday, June 4 – 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
SONY CLUB – 550 Madison Avenue, 35th Floor (between 55th and 56th Streets)
Admission: $150/$125 The Gohan Society members
The Gohan Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to building an understanding and appreciation of Japan’s culinary heritage in the United States through outreach to chefs, culinary arts professionals and all who admire and enjoy Japanese culture, will celebrate its tenth anniversary at a gala celebration at SONY CLUB.
In addition to celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Gohan Society, the evening will honor the naming of Washoku as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Gohan Society’s Chef Scholarship program, which will send accomplished chefs based in the U.S. to Japan for the opportunity to learn new techniques, skills, and ingredients from some of the best Japanese chefs. Past scholarship recipients include Chris Muller, Executive Chef of the Michelin three-star rated restaurant Le Bernardin; Chef Eddy Leroux, Chef de Cuisine at Daniel (two Michelin stars); Cédric Vongerichten, Chef de Cuisine at Perry St; and Travis Swikard, Executive Chef of Boulud Sud.
The evening begins with a cocktail reception featuring participating restaurants Bouley, Boulud Sud, Gramercy Tavern, and Nobu with sake provided by Hokusetsu and shochu provided by the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association. Chef Nils Noren, vice president of restaurant operations for the Marcus Samuelsson Group, will prepare cocktails for guests.
The Gohan Society will present “Washoku Ambassador Awards” to David Bouley, Executive Owner/Chef of Bouley and Brushstroke, and Nobu Matsuhisa, Owner/Chef of Nobu and other restaurants worldwide. The honorees exemplify the spirit of Washoku in their cooking and their everyday lives. “Washoku” means the “harmony of food” in Japanese, and it is associated with an essential spirit of respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources. It was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.
Following the reception will be a dinner with a keynote speech by Tim and Nina Zagat, co-founders and publishers of the popular Zagat Restaurant Surveys.
The Gohan Society will also present scholarships to the U.S.-based chefs who will study Japanese cuisine and cooking techniques in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, from August 29 through September 7, 2015. This year’s scholarship recipients are Chef Ben Pollinger, Executive Chef, Oceana; Chef Erik Battes, Corporate Executive Chef, STARR Restaurant Group; Chef Damien Niotis, sushi chef and graduate, C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program); and Chef Joe Downey-Zayas, Sous Chef, All’onda.
Founded by Saori Kawano, president of Korin Japanese Trading Corporation, The Gohan Society has been promoting cooperation, learning, and a spirit of friendship between cultures for the past ten years. Their mission is to foster an understanding and appreciation of Japan’s culinary heritage in the United States through outreach to chefs, culinary arts professionals, and all who admire and enjoy Japanese culture. One of the organization’s most important initiatives is the U.S.-Japan Culinary Exchange Program, which awards scholarships to leading U.S.-based chefs. Each year The Gohan Society’s Chefs Scholarship Program brings Japanese chefs to New York to train at some of the city’s finest restaurants, and in turn sends U.S.-based chefs to Japan.
Tickets for the dinner are SOLD OUT, but tickets to the reception from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. are still available. Please visit The Gohan Society’s website or the event’s Eventbrite page to purchase.
(Disclosure: Susan Hamaker is employed by The Gohan Society as a writer and is paid to write about and to promote the organization’s events and initiatives.)