Japan Centre are excited to announce in collaboration with world renowned sake brewers Gekkeikan, the winner of the inaugural Gekkeikan Masters Cooking Competition 2016, Natasha Cohen, a copywriter from London.

The brand new cooking competition was open to all chefs and experienced home cooks to find the next Gekkeikan Cooking Master and brand new sake recipes. Each entrant was asked to create two original sake inspired recipes, one sweet and one savoury. The purpose of this event was to spread the knowledge of ‘Cooking with Sake’ in cuisines outside of Japan. Sake is a vital ingredient frequently used in Japanese cooking which adds significant levels of umami.

Panel of Judges

Toshihiko Sakaguchi – Director General, JETRO London
Rie Yoshitake – Sake Consultant, Sake Samurai
Anna Greenhous – Sake Journalist, Harpers
Yukimasa Noda – GM International Div, Gekkeikan Sake Brewery
Kanji Furukawa – Chief Executive Chef, SHORYU & ICHIRYU

Each recipe was judged on how the flavours of sake was incorporated into the recipe as well as overall presentation of each dish.


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Natasha wowed the judges with her modern take on chicken rice, Drunken Hainanese Chicken Rice and her Strawberry Sake Mousse with White Chocolate Shell and was crowned Gekkeikan Cooking Master on Sunday 24 January 2016, and and was awarded an exclusive one week trip to Japan including a two day hands on training course at the Gekkeikan Sake School in Kyoto Fushimi, courtesy of Gekkeikan. 

Second place,  went to Mutsumi Kramer who created a Sake Souffle Quiche with Fig & Pine Nuts and finished with Rosey Sake Jelly with Raspberry Sauce. Mutsumi was awarded a two days certified sake sommelier course at the Sake Sommelier Academy.

Third prize went to Adam Frosh  who used sake in Fillet Beef Tartare in Sake and created a special Sake Cheesecake Brulee with Sake & Plum Aioli and was awarded a case of Gekkeikan Special Edition Sake from Kyoto with premium Horin Riedel Glass Set.

The Gekkeikan Award went to Vai Hoang, who created a Moroccan Lamb Shank Peach & Sake Cheesecake with Peach Infused Sake and was awarded a signature dinner for two at Shoryu designed by Chief Executive Chef, Kanji Furukawa paired with selection of Gekkeikan Sake.

The finalists were Josef Budde, who created Gambas al Ajillo and to finish a Sake Sabayon and Andrew Benson who made True & False Scallops followed by Sparkling Sake Semifreddo Pineapple Ravioli, both were awarded Japan Centre & Ichiryu gift vouchers.

Watch the competition below:

Read more about the competition on these blogs:

Sake Samurai
Tash Cakes (Natasha’s blog)