Report of Umami 101 - Basics and Advanced at IRGSNY

March 2012

Audience in the lecture room

  • We are pleased to deliver you this report on Umami 101 - Basics and Advanced at the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York (IRGSNY), held at the Javitz Center NY, from March 4-6, 2012. Thanks to two renowned chefs; exective chef Yoshihiro Takahashi of Hyotei in Kyoto, Japan and executive chef Kazutaka Iimori of the Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill in New York City, the venue was packed to capacity and the tasting session in particular attracted numerous members of the standing audience.


    Date and Venue: March 4-5, 2012 at the Javitz Convention Center, NY, USA Organizer: Umami Information Center (Non-profit Organization)


    Umami 101- Basics On the first day of the program, the Umami Information Center introduced the essentials of umami, including its health benefits and how to make dashi. Dr. Shintaro Yoshida, a scientific representative of the Umami Information Center, explained umami from a mainly scientific perspective.


    Next, executive chef Yoshihiro Takahashi of Hyotei, the legendary kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto, four centuries old and with three Michelin stars, delivered his remarks on umami based on his culinary experience. His two-part demonstration charmed the audience. First, he gave a dashi brewing demonstration using various ingredients; kombu and dried flakes of bonito and tuna. Participants had the chance to taste and compare kombu dashi and two kinds of ichiban dashi (kombu and dried bonito flakes and kombu and dried tuna flakes). He explained how he carefully selected dashi ingredients and introduced a dish for which dashi with kombu-dried tuna flakes could be used. As most of the audience were from the culinary field, they noted the subtle differences among the three dashis with great interest. Chef Takahashi also showed how to make clear Japanese soup with clam dumplings, yomogi-fu, broccoli blossoms, wakame and needle-like cut carrots with seasonal delicacies. He prepared two kind of dashi for the soup; namely kombu dashi and ichiban dashi. Though both recipes contained equivalent salt, most of the participants preferred the taste of ichiban dashi. Using the synergistic effect of glutamate from kombu and inosinate from katsuobushi, the audience learned how to reduce salt using umami-rich dashi.


    Umami 101- Advanced The following day, Executive Chef Kazutaka Iimori, head sushi chef of the Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, shared his experience while highlighting the importance of utilizing umami techniques in cooking and how to optimally balance flavors using this technique. First, he showed how to make salmon kobu jime; salted and placed between kombu sheets. Subsequently, he also prepared salad with and without kombu powder respectively. Tasting both, all agreed that the glutamate from kombu helped make the salad even tastier, despite having less salt than the other. Salt reduction is one of the key issues in our daily dietary lives. It was a good moment to reveal that thanks to umami, we could reduce salt intake without sacrificing the deliciousness.


    Summarizing the event, chef Takahashi taught the participants cutting-edge information, such as details of the range of ichiban dashis, and the fact that they could exploit the synergistic effect with various ingredients combined. In the demonstration by Chef Iimori, people learned that kombu was a versatile ingredient, which was also applicable for American cuisine. In fact someone asked him whether kombu could be used for beef steaks and hamburger steaks. We believe the two-day session offered a wonderful opportunity to gain the advantage of an exclusive insight into one of Japan's culinary secrets.

  • Audience in the lecture room

    Presentation by Dr. Shintaro Yoshida (Umami Information Center)

    Dashi brewing by Chef Yoshihiro Takahashi (Hyotei)

    Dashi tasting samples by Chef Takahashi

    Clear soup by Chef Takahashi

    Cooking demonstration by Chef Kazutaka Iimori (Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill)

  • Presentation by Dr. Shintaro Yoshida (Umami Information Center)

    Dashi brewing by Chef Yoshihiro Takahashi (Hyotei)

    Dashi tasting samples by Chef Takahashi

    Clear soup by Chef Takahashi

    Cooking demonstration by Chef Kazutaka Iimori (Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill)