Japan Introduces Certification for Sushi Chefs

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By Adam Campbell-Schmitt Posted January 26, 2016

We take sushi for granted, but its rise in America has been meteoric.

In mere decades, the Japanese import has gone from gastronomic oddity to gas station fare. It's everywhere. But we all know that grocery store California roll isn't real sushi, right? According to the Japanese government, that's a hard "no." Just as there's a correct way to eat your yellowtail, Japan says there's a correct way to make and serve sushi—and its government wants to reeducate overseas chefs, reports the Telegraph. A new program will offer would-be sushi masters the chance to take courses in washoku, the traditional method of preparing and presenting the cuisine.

The certification will cover everything from proper food safety techniques, to the angle of hands and cutlery during preparation, to the ceremony of placing the finished morsels in front of a hungry guest. Graduates can receive a gold, silver or bronze ranking which the country's Food Industries and Affairs Bureau hopes will be seen as a mark of not only authenticity, but honor. The move to retain cultural identity abroad is hardly a first, as other countries including France's Maîtres Cuisiniers and Italy's attempts at dish-based certification offer recognition for mastering time-honored techniques.

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