Washoku – or Japanese cuisine – was recognised by UNESCO as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013 and has seen a boom in popularity abroad.
But the Japanese government is concerned that much of the cuisine being served overseas is a poor imitation of genuine Japanese cooking.
As a result the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry will now require would-be washoku chefs to attend training in Japan to receive a certificate which can be displayed as a mark of quality in restaurants worldwide.
Officials told the Kyodo news agency that chefs would have to show an understanding of Japanese food culture, proper handling of raw seafood as well as presentation and customer service skills.
“By enhancing their understanding of washoku, we hope to raise the quality of (Japanese) restaurants overseas and expand exports of Japanese farm products and seasonings,” a ministry official said.
Foreign chefs who have worked two years or longer in Japan will likely be given ‘gold' status, those who have studied for at least six months will likely be ranked ‘silver’, followed by ‘bronze’ for those who have trained for a shorter time.
Today seven young British chefs from restaurants including The Ritz and Modern Pantry will begin an eight-day culinary tour of Japan organised by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Japanese airline ANA.
The aim is to encourage more chefs to incorporate new techniques and Japanese ingredients into menus across the UK.
As of last July, there were around 88,700 registered Japanese restaurants worldwide, an increase of over 30,000 since 2013, according to the ministry.
In the 2016 UK Michelin Guide Japanese restaurants Araki and Umu were the only new entrants to be awarded two Michelin-stars.