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All Nippon Airways takes winning Japanese dish to 33,000ft

Piero Leone’s winning dish, Donburi N7

Head Chef at Royal Exchange’s Sauterelle wins chance to design dish for ANA, Japan’s only 5-star airline’s, Business Class menu

After going head-to-head with six UK chefs, Piero Leone, Head Chef at the Royal Exchange’s Restaurant Sauterelle, has been named the winner of Seven Samurai Chefs, a nationwide challenge run by ANA and the British Hospitality Association (BHA), and judged in part by Japanese chef Yuki Gomi from Yuki’s Kitchen.

Challenged with creating a traditional Japanese donburi* for ANA, Piero’s winning dish, Donburi N7, made the best impression with the airline’s chefs, who judged the final round. Fusing his personal cooking style with traditional techniques and seven ingredients, including calamari, scallops, and prawns seared with a touch of sesame oil and ponzu sauce, the dish is packed with fresh flavours.  

Business Class passengers flying with 5-star ailine ANA from 1 December will be able to enjoy it as a light meal. It will appear alongside others created by The CONNOISSEURS, a unique panel of leading culinary experts, including three Michelin star chefs Kunio Tokuoka, Executive Chef of “KYOTO KITCHO” and Toru Okuda owner of "Ginza Okuda".

Yuki Gomi from Yuki’s Kitchen, also on the judging panel, said: “Piero’s donburi particularly stood out as he utilised the natural UMAMI from seafood – ingredients beloved by Japanese locals. His fusion of Japanese traditional ‘Ochazuke’ (pouring tea, dashi, or hot water over cooked rice) with a Western presentation was exquisite. Seven being a lucky number in Japan is by no means why his Donburi N7 won, but it certainly added a clever touch!”

Akira Nakamura, ANA Senior Vice President, EMEA and General Manager, London said: “We were very impressed by the high level of creativity and skill that went into each of the finalists’ dishes, particulalry with how each one combined traditional Japanese ingredients with the modern style of Donburi.

As part of the challenge, the Seven Samurai Chefs, who were selected by panel of food experts, including Hideki Maeda, Head Chef of Nobu and Yuki Gomi, embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime culinary tour of Japan. During the trip they visited some of the world’s most-celebrated markets, as well as renowned restaurants in Tokyo, Toba, Kyoto and Osaka, meeting experts and mastering the art of Japanese cooking along the way.

Akira Nakamura continued: “We seek to inspire everyone who flies with ANA so we are delighted to serve Piero’s dish on-board. It represents authentic Japanese culture, but he’s given a traditional dish a unique twist, which supports our ethos of continuously innovating our service. I look forward to seeing it on our new menu.”

On being named the winning Samurai Chef, Piero Leone commented: "I'm absolutely thrilled that ANA has selected Donburi N7 as the winning dish. Japanese culture has always been a big inspiration to me and the culinary tour was a great opportunity to see Japan and discover it’s outstanding produce and ancient cooking traditions. I’m honoured and excited to see the dish on ANA’s new menu and hope passengers enjoy it.”

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said: “The competition facilitated an international cultural and gastronomical exchange between Britain and Japan. This 'spirit of hospitality' formed the foundation of our competition and the winning dish successfully captures the essence of both countries in a unique way.” 

Piero Leone’s winning dish, Donburi N7, will be available as a light meal on ANA’s Winter 2016 Business Class menu from 1 December 2016 to 28 February 2017 on ANA’s London to Tokyo Haneda route.

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