The British Hospitality Association has announced the seven chefs flying to Japan for an eight-day culinary trip, having been named finalists in the BHA and All Nippon Airlines (ANA) Seven Samurai Chefs contest.
Each finalist, from across some of the most prestigious venues in the UK and Ireland, was chosen for the creativity and finesse in their entries, as judged by the panel which included co-owner of D&D London, David Loewi, head chef at Nobu Park Lane, Hideki Maeda, and Japanese chef Yuki Gomi of Yuki's Kitchen in southeast London.
The finalists have now travelled to Japan and are set to learn key methods in the country's cuisine and discover more about the country's old and new culture.
Following the trip, one of the chefs will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with the catering team of contest partner and five-star Japanese airline, ANA, to create a light meal for the company's Winter 2016 Business Class menus on the London to Toyko route.
While in Japan, each of the seven finalists will also have the chance to learn cooking techniques from chef Sadakatsu Matsuura, with the view to bringing them back to the UK. The itinerary will also cover the production methods behind delicacies such as soy sauce, along with visits to celebrated food markets and restaurants in Tokyo, Osaka, Toba and Kyoto.
Yutaka Ito, ANA senior vice-president, EMEA and general manager, London, said the quality of entries had impressed the judging panel and had brought a high level of innovation to the contest.
Commenting on the finalists, Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: "We're committed to nurturing and growing the best of British culinary talent. This competition is part of that commitment and offers a unique chance for up-and-coming chefs to expand their knowledge and skills in one of the world's greatest culinary arts."
Gomi added: "It was really exciting to see the variety and range of talents from the chefs, which I am sure will continue to evolve during their adventures and culinary experiences in Japan."
- Spencer Metzger, London â' sous chef at the Ritz hotel and host of seasonal pop-up restaurant ‘A Summer-Inspired Menu'. Winner of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts award for Young Chef of the Year 2014
- Cheung-On Shum 'Jason', London - chef de partie at the Oxo Tower in London
- Kelvin Tan, Ireland â' the Dysart Petersham in Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey
- Hamza Aidouni, London â' head pastry chef at the Belgraves hotel, Kensington
- Lizzy (Elizabeth) Stables, London â' head chef at the Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
- Piero Leone, London â' head chef, Sauterelle at the Royal Exchange, London