Umami Information Center


2011 Umami Lecture in Niigata

December 2011

"Let's discover Umami and make the most of ingredients!"

- Umami Helps To Rediscover The Charm of Niigata Ingredients -

"Umami Lecture in Niigata" was held, starting at 1:30 in the afternoon in Niigata on Sunday, October 23rd by co-oraginizers: Umami Information Center (NPO) and Niigata Cooking Technical School.

The city of Niigata, located in the northeastern part of the Japanese archipelago, is one of the major local cities in Japan. It is the first time that the UIC lectures went out of Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan. This event brought together three of Japan's leading chefs, each specializing in a different world cuisine, namely Japanese, Chinese and Italian with the aim to extend and to deepen the understanding of umami among attendees from the culinary field such as chefs, dieticians, faculty members and students of cooking schools.

142 participants attended the lecture hall of Niigata Cooking Technical School. The Broadcasting System of Niigata (BSN) aired the report the next day. The Niigata Nippo, a major Niigata local newspaper, reported it on October 26th.

First, the keynote lecture on umami, one of five basic tastes delivered by Dr. Kumiko Ninomiya, director of the Umami Information Center. Her presentation ranged from basic information on umami substance, umami rich ingredients to the synergetic effect from a scientific point of view.

Subsequently to her lecture, three chefs; chef Yoshihiro Murata (President/Chef of "Kikunoi" Japanese restaurant), chef Yuji Wakiya (President of "Wakiya Ichiemi Saro", Chinese restaurant) and chef Yasuhiro Sasajima (Owner chef of Il Guiottone) gave lectures and cooking demonstrations on umami and how to apply it into their dishes using Niigata ingredients.

Chef Murata's presentation started with tasting of kombu dashi and dried bonito flakes. His innovative New Style Dashi, which was brewed from dried tomatoes, dried morel mushrooms and chicken breast, followed.

Next, Chef Yuji Wakiya, president of "Wakiya Ichiemi Saro" gave a demonstration and a tasting of "Clear soup of Niigata Jidori * and various mushrooms." At the end, he had a cooking demonstration of "Niigata Jidori marinated umami rich vegetables"

Chef Yasuhiro Sasajima, owner chef of Il Guiottone had a cooking demonstration of "Brodo of Niigata Jidori and Echigo Mochi buta*", which was delivered to all participants in a tasting cup. His demonstration of "Babettini with Yairo shiitake mushrooms* garnished with Kakinomoto, edible chrysanthemum" followed.

The audience also had a chance to taste three Niigata-umami- menus, which each chef showed how to cook in their demonstration.After an active Q & A session, the lecture ended successfully. There were a lot of very positive comments such as "I could understand umami very well." "It was a precious experience to see the cooking demonstration by leading chefs." And "I am looking forward to join such a wonderful event again."

Tasting box:Upper right"Babettini with Yairo shiitake
mushrooms* garnished with Kakinomoto, edible chrysanthemum. Lower left"Niigata Jidori marinated umami rich vegetables"Lower right"Clear soup with shrimp dumpling, New Style Dashi based"

Recipes of three tasting menus will be delivered at the Umami recipe section, soon.

Niigata Jidori (Free range chicken, crossbred from a Niigata indigenous species. Niigata specialty which is rich in inosinate)
Echigo Mochi-Buta (Tender, juicy pork with the nickname of Niigata district "Echigo")
Yawahada Negi (Young green onion with very sweet and mild flavor)
Yairo Shiitake (Shiitake mushrooms with a thick cap. Yairo is the name of their region of origin)
Okesa Kaki (Very juicy and vitamin C rich persimmon, seedless, speciality of Sado Island)