Contest Theme: UMAMI

Since its 5th year, the contest theme of the Washoku World Challenge has been UMAMI, which is the essential taste at the heart of Japanese cuisine.

What is UMAMI?

UMAMI is the source of the savoriness of Japanese cuisine. It is one of the five basic tastes, the others being sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness, and an important component of a dish’s flavor. Recognition of UMAMI has increased in recent years, and the word has made its way into many non-Japanese dictionaries. The UMAMI taste is usually a product of some combination of inosinic acid, amino acids such as glutamic acid, and nucleic acids such as guanylic acid. In Japan, the technique of extracting UMAMI from kombu kelp and bonito flakes to create dashi broth was developed approximately 500 years ago. Many cookbooks were published in the mid-Edo period (around 1651-1745), and these strongly advocated the importance of dashi. Japan has a long history of valuing dashi highly, and its UMAMI has brought out the flavors of ingredients and played key roles in the creation of delectable dishes.

This Year’s Theme: Goho‐Five methods

This year's theme “Goho‐Five methods” is aiming to reconsider the basis of Japanese cuisine.

The basis of Japanese cuisine is “Gomi, Goshiki, and Goho.”
Gomi” refers to the five tastes of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. “Goshiki” refers to five colors used in Japanese cuisine that consist of red, blue (green), yellow, white, and black.
Lastly, “Goho” is the core of Japanese cooking skills, referring to the basic cooking methods employed to make the best use of the ingredients. Goho consists of “Nama” (cutting), “Niru” (simmering), “Yaku” (grilling), “Musu” (steaming), and “Ageru” (deep-frying).
Japanese cuisine combines these methods to bring out the natural flavor of the ingredients as they are and emphasizes harmony with nature by using seasonal ingredients.

Everyone is different when it comes to one’s philosophy and approach to cooking, but there is a common basis at the root of these diverse ways of thinking.
We hope that this will be an opportunity for you to reconsider the basics of Japanese cuisine, to further refine your skills, and to connect them to the future.

We look forward to your application!

Eligibility to Application

Application is restricted to those of non-Japanese nationality who fulfill the following conditions:

* applications will be accepted regardless of whether the applicants live in or outside of Japan.

  • Chefs of Japanese cuisine
  • Chefs who are interested in Japanese food and food culture
  • Culinary students who study Japanese cuisine and want to become chefs
  • Students studying at Japanese culinary institutions and those involved in Japanese cooking programs in Japan

* Excludes past winners of the Washoku World Challenge

Application Flow

  1. Application

  3. Document Screening
  4. 15 contestants
    to be selected

  5. Video Screening
  6. 6 finalists
    to be selected

  7. Final Tournament

* Please note that the contest may be canceled, postponed or changed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  1. Application Open:
    August 20th
    Deadline for Document Screening: September 20th
  2. Results: October 27th
  3. Deadline for Video Submission: November 12th
  4. Announcement of the Finalist: December 20th
  5. Final Tournament: Around February 2022

6 finalists who pass the video screening will be invited to the final tournament to be held in Tokyo.
For those who advance to the final tournament, we will announce the final tournament assignments in December.

* Travel and hotel expenses for the final tournament will be covered by the WWC organizing committee.

* Please note that travel and hotel expenses for the final tournament may be changed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Please note that the schedule is subject to change without notice.

Participation benefits

Six Finalists Will Be Invited to the Final Tournament in Tokyo!

— Special Benefits to the Finalis —

To obtain the “Bronze Certificate and Badge” to certify your Japanese cooking skills and knowledge.

“The Certification of Japanese Cuisine Cooking Skills in Foreign Countries”*1 is a scheme which the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan certify that one’s Japanese cooking knowledge and cooking skills have reached a certain level.

To learn about Japanese ingredients and Japanese cuisine in Japan - the home of washoku.
To learn directly from a top Japanese cuisine chef in a special Japanese cooking workshop.

*Please note that the contest may be canceled, postponed or changed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.