ANA Announces Seven UK Samurai Chefs
Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA)’s hunt for seven talented British chefs to take off on a unique trip to Japan to learn the secrets of the country’s legendary cuisine has taken another step forward. The chefs have now been whittled down to seven, and dubbed as ANA’s seven ‘Samurai Chefs.’ The talented chefs from the UK were whisked to Japan on for an immersive culinary tour, sponsored by ANA.
Hand-picked by a judging panel that included the world-renowned chef Hideki Maeda from Nobu and Yuki Gomi of Yuki’s Kitchen, the chefs were given the full Japanese culinary experience that included the showcasing of unique production methods behind popular local delicacies and visited some of the country’s most popular food markets, as well as renowned restaurants in Tokyo, Osaka, Toba and Kyoto.
As a result of the trip, the seven chefs created some spectacular results, including salmon donburi and popcorn-smoked dashi, to ponzu-infused calamari and zesty hibachi. Fighting off fierce competition, only one Samurai Chef will win the chance to collaborate with ANA’s own award-winning catering team to create a light meal for its Winter 2016 Business Class menu on the airlines London Heathrow–Tokyo Narita route (mostly flown using the Boeing 777 or the Boeing 787-8).
Here are the seven finalists:
Cured Hamachi, Cucumber & Lemon Verbena Donburi
Spencer Metzger, London
“My inspiration was for a donburi dish that’s light, fresh, full of acidity and one that is not served hot, as this is the common perception of in-flight food. I want ANA’s guests to be surprised with an exceptional meal. My dish can be prepared fresh and finished on board along with the side garnishes.”
Donburi N 7
Piero Leone, London
“A 7 day tour. 7 seas where fish swim and 7 heavenly virtues. 7 herbs and 7 Gods of Luck. All inspired my dish which focuses on good, fresh ingredients packed with flavour and natural umami. The calamari, scallops and prawns are just seared, with a touch of sesame oil and ponzu sauce. Lemon jelly and miso paste add flavour, alongside two rice chips: yuzu lemon and wakame seaweed.”
Seaweed & Hazelnut Dukka, Pickled Shitake & Beansprouts Donburi with Yuzu & Tamari dressing
Lizzy (Elizabeth) Stables, London
“As you can see, my dish has quite a few different recipes going on. All are very simple but with keeping in the theme of a vegan dish, I thought it was very important to still keep the balance of sweet, salty fresh and crunch.”
Charred Mackerel Donburi with Popcorn Smoked Dashi
Kelvin Tan, Ireland
“I want ANA’s guests to relive our trip to Tenpaku dried bonito factory, where we were shown wonderful hospitality alongside an unforgettable experience – the mellow smoky aroma, the heart- warming dashi, the simplicity of a delicious bowl of rice. My donburi is a twist on the classic Ochazuke (Tea & Rice).”
Seared Sesame & Herb Crusted Tuna with Chinese Cabbage Sticky Rice
Hamza Aidouni, London
“My dish is refreshing, simple and healthy without compromising flavour. I was inspired by Tsukiji fish market – the fresh flavour was wonderfully offset by the texture and flavour of sesame seed and herb. An obvious accompaniment to my dish was the Japanese staple of rice, coated in fresh cabbage. The tofu soya is an homage to the soya district.”
Donburi Dish of Ox Cheek in Miso, Cabbage, Soy, Ginger & Crispy Noodles
Craig Floate, Nottingham
“My dish is punchy and full of flavour, with a hint of spice to get the taste buds going. The melt in the mouth beef compliments the crunchy vegetables, finished off with fragrant fresh coriander. No salt or pepper is used in the dish, with tomatoes and miso aiding the natural umami.”
Poached Salmon Donburi, Pak Choi, Shiitake, Lotus Root & Fried Leeks (Served With Ginger Infused Pu Er Tea)
Cheung-On ‘Jason’ Shum , London
“My dish has five key ingredients from Japanese cuisine; salt, sugar, miso, vinegar and soy sauce. With dashi, the gently poached salmon stays beautifully moist yet not too oily. Shiitake mushrooms and nori with the salmon achieves additional umami. The lotus root crisps provide a change in texture and is all lifted by the acidity and slight sweetness of the pickled ginger.”
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