Learn from global experts
with our online seminars!
Prior to a chef/cook/culinary researcher developing a dish submitting a pairing, they use our content to learn innovative approaches.
These approaches are discussed in online videos by French sommeliers, sake pairing experts, and chefs from France, the UK, and Hong Kong.
You can then utilize what you learn in the online seminars to enhance your unique culinary style and prepare an oyster dish.
Greetings, everyone. I'm Katsunari Sawada, the founder of The World's Best Sake Pairing. My goal is sharing amazing pairing experiences with people around the world--the kind that make you say ""Wow!"" or ""Delicious!""--by using outstanding, little-known sake and global ingredients. To that end, I devised the The World's Best Sake Pairing as a venue for sharing those ideas.
The export volume of sake is growing by orders of magnitude in the double digits each year. The term ""sake"" has itself become increasingly well-known. Over the last 10 years, the place of sake in the Japanese market has also changed considerably. There is now a wide variety of aromas and flavors available that simply cannot be understood within the context of a traditional definition of sake.
With The World's Best Sake Pairing 2021, you will learn from five instructors in the United Kingdom, France, Hong Kong, and Japan. Understanding the latest details about the sake industry and learning contemporary pairing techniques from French sommeliers and sake sommeliers will give you the opportunity to give your restaurant business the next leap forward . Moreover, learning the philosophy and creative approach of chefs who are highly acclaimed around the world will give you new ideas as a chef.
The theme for 2021 is oysters. Cuisine is rich with the passion and personal philosophies of cooks. Therefore, the act of eating is not only about the food, but about sharing these unseen messages and ideas from the chef. I am very much looking forward to what kinds of dishes will be developed with oysters this year.
This time around we sought out the latest sake and devised a method of shipping sake from local breweries as a bonus to participants. Thus far, we only had the option of sending sake brands that were primarily available to us locally. Now, leveraging the strengths of Japanpage:, with its proven track record of air freight to 50 countries around the world, and the multilingual smartphone app SakeYours, we are bringing the discovery and delivery of sake one step further into the future as we support The World's Best Sake Pairing.
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Some points to know before taking part in a seminarWhat is sake?
Wine and sake
Taking a cutting-edge approach
to pairing oyster dishes with sake
Some points to know before taking part in a seminar
Sake is an alcohol made from rice and water produced through Japanese brewing technology.
Sake is an alcohol brewed from rice and water using Japanese brewing techniques. If this is your first time trying sake, you may be under the misapprehension that, since it only uses two ingredients, this beverage has a simplistic aroma or flavor.
Sake is made from rice and water. However, there are more than 120 kinds of brewer's rice in Japan specialized for sake brewing , with some sake being made from standard rice for consumption. The selection of rice can impart surprising differences in the brew, creating profiles such as a "richer, full-bodied sake" or a "delicate, light, and aromatic sake."
In addition, sake is produced by polishing rice. Polishing involves removing some of the rice hull. The amount of rice left behind after polishing is referred to as the rice polishing ratio. This means that the same type of brewer's rice can produce different sake depending on the polishing ratio, making it variously fruity or complex.
The other key component is water. Approximately 80% of sake is water. Two thirds of Japan's landmass is covered by forests. These forests contain different soil qualities, and rainwater is filtered through the mountains and springs out with unique characteristics endemic to each region. In some places, there are springs with water dating to 100 years ago. Japanese water is generally soft, but it has varying hardness. Soft/medium hard/hard water properties within this generally soft water exhibit different mineral content that can make Japanese sake smooth and full-bodied or rich and dry.
Moreover, essential in understanding sake is that the key driver of flavor is yeast. Rice is broken down into sugar by koji mold, and this is then converted into alcohol through the action of the yeast. The yeast can impart flavors reminiscent of apple or banana, as well as introduce red pigment. This may seem impossible to believe, but it is true.
In addition, the manufacturing method can create a completely different aroma or flavor profile. Another change is seen in whether the sake is pasteurized, and for how long it is aged. Furthermore, the sake can change depending on the temperature when it is drunk, and the glass used.
There are approximately 1,200 breweries in Japan, with 10,000 to 30,000 products believed to be on the market. The history of sake production dates back about 1,000 years. In recent years, varieties such as undiluted sake, which is not pasteurized, and well-cured sake have garnered acclaim on the market. There is also kijoshu, which uses alcohol in lieu of water, and ginjoshu, with its fruity aroma. Finally, clear sparkling sake, produced in a manner similar to French Champagne, has recently gained ground for its unique use of secondary fermentation in the bottle.
Discover the flavor and taste differences between the ingredients and production methods of sake as you explore the best beverage to match your dish.
Sake is an alcohol that can be enjoyed at room temperature, chilled, or heated.
Treating sake as something that must be drunk heated misses out on the wider potential of the brew. Japanese uses certain expressions to describe the temperature of sake. For example, "atsukan" refers to 50-55 degrees Celsius, "jokan" refers to 45-50 degrees, "nurukan" refers to 30-40 degrees, hanabie refers to 10 degrees, and yukibie refers to 5 degrees, among others.
Sake responds to these fine temperature differences, creating individuality in how the bouquet unfolds and how smooth the flavor is. Each sake has a different temperature at which it is best drunk. You can refer to these comments from sake experts and breweries to learn more about the unique differences found in sake.
Japanese sake is rich in amino acids
Sake contains various nutritional compounds such as amino acids, organic acids, and vitamins. Among them, amino acids are responsible for the umami and richness, and are found in much greater quantities than in other alcohol drinks such as wine.
In general, junmaishu with a high rice polishing ratio has a high amino acid content, and it is rich and has pronounced flavor. Ginjoshu, which uses rice with a polishing ratio of 60% or less, tends to have a relatively low amino acid level, and usually has a smooth and refreshing taste.
Consider the ingredients, cooking methods, and seasonings as you explore a suitable sake for your pairing.
Japanese sake does not rot
You may be wondering if sake has a shelf life. In general, sake will not rot if it is unopened. Most sake is pasteurized to neutralize microbial activity and stop further fermentation.
Even if the sake is unpasteurized, it will slowly age and develop a complex flavor by properly storing it (-5 degrees Celsius or lower is ideal).
However, if it is opened or not properly sealed, bacteria in the air can contaminate it. You should use care when storing.
Sake should be stored at low temperatures, avoiding UV rays and fluorescent lights
The natural enemy of sake is ultraviolet rays. Sake deteriorates when exposed to direct sunlight and develops an odor like onions. Note that it will begin to deteriorate after about 30 minutes.
It is also dangerous to store sake in an environment exposed to fluorescent lamps. This calls for using light fixtures with UV-cutting films, special lights that do not emit UV rays, or wrapping the bottle in newsprint.
When storing for long periods in order to enjoy its aging, consider the best storage method based on the type of sake.
Seminar 1 Wine and sake pairings with oysters
Oysters are one of the most beloved ingredients in the world. Oysters are beloved in France, a gastronomic and wine-loving country, and sommeliers suggest wines to go with a variety of dishes, serving exquisite pairing experiences for their customers.
What is the perception of sake in France, and what sorts of pairing potential does it have? How should one serve wine and sake?
When we thought of the key words "wine," "sake," and "sommelier," the first person who came to mind as an expert was Xavier Thuizat, active as the head sommelier at the Hôtel de Crillon, a super luxury French hotel in excess of 5 stars that meets the prestigious accolade of a "palace hotel." Mr. Thuizat has also served as chairman of the jury at Kura Master, the competition at which French sommeliers rate sake. Mr. Thuizat was delighted about the project and agreed to host a lecture on the subject of wine and sake pairings with oysters.
Mr. Thuizat will discuss the below topics with us.
- - The role and potential of sake in wine-producing countries
- - Differences between wine and sake pairing techniques
- - Key considerations for oyster dish pairings
- - The roles of wine and sake in oyster dish pairings
- - Sake requirements to calibrate to your oyster dish
- - Sake pairing possibilities
Mr. Thuizat, who possesses a deep knowledge of wine, explores the potential of sake, and continues to propose the ultimate pairing experiences to his customers as a sommelier. This seminar is chock-full of new and useful culinary business ideas, making it ideal not only for chefs exploring how to prepare dishes to pair with sake, but also chefs at restaurants, bars, and hotels already incorporating sake into their menus, and the proprietors and managers of those establishments.
This seminar is also recommended for those working at sake breweries. If you are hard at work on brewing sake and enthusiastic about seeing how drinkers react to your creations and how sake is regarded globally and what potential it has, do not miss this seminar.
Don't miss the opportunity to learn from a French sommelier with our seminar on oyster-themed wine and sake pairings!
Chef-Sommelier of Hôtel de Crillon
（Chef Sommelier de l'Hôtel de Crillon）
Born in Burgundy, France. After working at the Michelin 3-star restaurant Bernard Loiseau, Le Meurice, and Pierre Gagnaire, became the head sommelier at the Peninsula Hotel in Paris in 2014. In January 2017, assumed the position of head sommelier at the Hôtel de Crillon, a super luxury hotel in excess of 5 stars that is considered a "palace hotel."
Has served as chairman of the jury since the founding of Kura Master in 2017, the sake competition presided over by leading French sommeliers. In 2020, was appointed as a "Sake Samurai" certified by the Japan Sake Brewers Association Junior Council.
Hôtel de Crillon：https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/fr/hotel-de-crillon
Seminar2Taking a cutting-edge approach to pairing oyster dishes with sake
My mission was advocating for new and different approaches to pairing sake and oysters that differ from the usual. This idea resonated with Marie Chiba, the sake sommelier at GEM by moto.
Ms. Chiba has proposed a number of surprising and persuasive sake pairings from the viewpoint of a "chemical approach x seasoning in the mouth." This is truly an astonishing and innovative technique. Chiba's methodology has drawn major acclaim in the sake industry and overseas.
I shared with Ms. Chiba the idea of creating an engaging hook or storyline to convey my concept: of having chefs from all over the world demonstrate their creativity and communicate the regionality of their particular place in the world by creating dish pairings for sake.
This webinar is the result of that debate and discussion. It begins with a discussion about basic sake pairing techniques. It then proceeds to give key pointers for preparing oyster dishes, as well as concrete pairing ideas around the subjects of seasonings and preparation methods.
The title of the seminar is "Thinking about oyster pairing dishes using the most advanced sake pairing techniques," and will cover the following.
- - Features of new sake pairing techniques
- - Difference between traditional and new sake pairing techniques
- - Important points when considering oyster dishes pairings for sake
- - Common oyster pairing mistakes
- - How to choose sake to match oyster dish pairings
- - Oyster dish pairings we hope to see posted
Learn a new method for pairing sake and incorporate this in your own creative cooking.
Sake sommelier of GEM by moto, the 14th sake samurai
Born in Iwate Prefecture. She was a system engineer in the insurance industry before moving to the food service industry. While she worked at a restaurant, she became fascinated with sake and began visiting sake breweries and stores all over Japan. She acquired specialized sake knowledge through training at the National Institute of Brewing Research, and gained popularity by offering sake tailored to each individual using her knowledge of chemistry. She works to create new sake related culinary experiences through mouth seasoning and pairings, and has collaborated with countless chefs and other professionals in a variety of genres in her pursuit of new possibilities in sake. In 2019, she was appointed as a Sake Samurai to promote sake and cuisine to the world. She continues to attract sake fans in Japan and abroad.
GEM by moto：https://gembymoto.gorp.jp/
“Nihonshu ni Koihiye” - Marie Chiba (Author), Hanako Mejiro (Editor) (Shu to Seikatsu)
“Saisentan no Nihonshu Pairings” - Marie Chiba (Author), Hitoshi Utsunomiya (Editor) (Asahiya)
Seminar 3 Research and introduction of oyster dish pairings for sake
In the segment on research and introduction of oyster dishes to pair with sake, the three chefs talk to us about their choices for oyster pairings from their standpoint as culinary experts. The act of preparing food is imbued with the unique methodologies and philosophy of the chef, as well as the chef's desires for what the diner might experience through the meal. How is that idea embodied?
Tomos Parry, from the UK, has been attracting attention as a leading young chef in London. Since receiving an award in 2014 conferred on young chefs, Mr. Parry went on to train at several famous establishments. One famous anecdote is about how his dishes captivated former prime minister David Cameron during Mr. Parry's tenure at Kitty Fisher's in Mayfair. In 2018, he launched Brat, a Basque restaurant where food is cooked on an open grill. The same year, it earned a Michelin star.
From France, we have Keisuke Matsushima,whois not only an owner-chef, but who is also working to preserve the culinary culture of both Japan and France and endeavoring to enrich people's lives through food. Mr. Matsushima opened a restaurant called Kei's Passion (currently KEISUKE MATSUSHIMA) in Nice, France in 2002. His innovative dishes made use of ingredients from Southern France and garnered acclaim, and he earned a Michelin star as the youngest foreigner in France. In 2016, he received the Order of Agricultural Merit from the French government. At the WIRED Audi INNOVATION AWARD 2018, he received the accolade of being one of 20 innovators who are changing the world to create a new future.
From Hong Kong, we have Wan Tat Kong, who continues the traditions of authentic first-generation Cantonese cuisine. He is an active master chef (a top honor conferred on Chinese chefs) of Chinese cuisine and has served as a chef for over 50 years in Hong Kong, Japan, and Canada. He has published numerous cookbooks and appeared on television programs. Also serves as a culinary advisor to fine restaurants in China and Hong Kong.
The World's Best Sake Pairing 2021 seeks submissions of creative dishes from around the world on the theme of oysters. We have brought Mr. Parry, Mr. Matsushima, and Mr. Wan together to introduce specific dishes that revolve around new methods for pairing oyster dishes with sake.
In the video, the three chefs will talk about the following
- - Culinary philosophy
- - How to choose ingredients to match sake/how to cook oyster dishes/approaches to seasoning
- - Introduction of dishes incorporating the above/Commitment to quality in cooking
Those applying to The World's Best Sake Pairing 2021 can watch videos from Mr. Parry, Mr. Matsushima, and Mr. 尹to unleash their creativity and create a dish pairing for Japanese sake that will surprise a global audience.
Chef/patron of Brat x Climpson’s Arch
Wan Tat Kong
Wan Tat Kong
Master of Chinese Food Cultural
Chef/patron of Brat x Climpson’s Arch
Native of Wales. Since receiving an award conferred on young chefs in the UK in 2014, he went on to train at numerous famous establishments such as The Ledbury, River Café, and Noma.
His dishes at Mayfair's Kitty Fisher's also captivated former prime minister David Cameron. In 2018, he launched Brat, a Basque restaurant where food is cooked on an open grill.
The same year, it earned a Michelin star. One of London's leading young talented chefs.
Chef-propriétaire de KEISUKE MATSUSHIMA FRANCE
At the age of 25 in 2002, he opened the restaurant Kei's Passion in Nice, France. Its innovative dishes made use of ingredients from Southern France and garnered acclaim, and in 2006, at the age of 28, he garnered a Michelin star as the youngest foreigner in France. He then changed the restaurant name to KEISUKE MATSUSHIMA and reopened it as a larger venue.
In July 2010, he was the youngest chef to be awarded the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. In October of that year, he was awarded the title of Fifth Sake Samurai by the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association. In December 2016, he received the Order of Agricultural Merit from the French government. In December 2018, he was selected at the WIRED Audi INNOVATION AWARD 2018 as one of 20 innovators changing the world and creating a new future. Currently acts not only as an owner-chef, but is helping safeguard Japanese and French cuisine and a rich culinary life through online workshops for companies and organizations such as "Cooking Classroom just for Dads", "Cooking Classroom just for Moms", "Temple School for Gourmet Cuisine", "Salt-Free Cooking Classroom", and "Umami Lectures".
Wan Tat Kong
Master of Chinese Food Cultural
A successor of the first generation of traditional, authentic Cantonese cuisine from Hong Kong. He has lived in Japan for more than 30 years, and mixes Chinese and Japanese cuisine to create healthy dishes that incorporate traditional Cantonese cuisine into the Japanese kaiseki style. He was especially fascinated by the study of Chinese food culture and health, and has advocated the idea of "harmony and healthy eating habits through the four seasons," and has presided over 100 large-scale food culture seminars and research projects to date. Has published numerous cookbooks and made television appearances.
Currently serving as a culinary advisor to many fine restaurants in China and Hong Kong. Presided over the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) culinary demonstrations and large-scale gourmet events, and acts as an ambassador promoting Japanese ingredients.